On a more personal note, I would discuss the artist’s mindset upon releasing a work into the wilds of the world. I think we all have a creative side, to one degree or another. I have found that even the most stoic and calculating souls have a hidden place inside where they always dreamed of painting, or wrote a few words of prose down. Many play instruments, some dance, and I am a big supporter of these outlets. They tend to relieve stress, and help you to know yourself. But many times it is personal and never gets beyond the door of your sanctuary. Which is fine.
But many let fly their passion, past the gates, and into the world, like releasing something they loved. Now, before the actual release, there is most certainly anxiety, some reticence, and usually a healthy bit of scrutinizing over the work. Hundreds of man hours go in to tweaking the art form, because it will become a public thing. You have to be sure that when released it conveys the best of who you are. The best of what you can be. Many don’t release it at that last moment, because of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of letting themselves down. And there is fear of your art being hated, which, since it is something you loved so hard, means they hate you.
But those that do, those that take that step, that sign their name to something, to a performance, to a piece of art, they get to experience one of the great treasures of life, one that cannot be had by way of money, or affection from the opposite sex, or from self-service. Because to make art is to give the world a piece of yourself. It is to love others with the gifts you were given. It is to be courageously you. And if that passion moves people, or succeeds in however we measure success, then you have proven to your inner most being that you have added to the world, that you are special, that you are unique. And conversely, if you fail, you have taught yourself that actually failing after trying was not nearly as bad as what you feared it might be. You have risked, and learned how to grow. You have gained courage, and knowledge, and have come that much closer to discovering just what it is exactly that makes you beautiful.
There is a world full of joylessness out there. A world full of the anonymous negative, who hate that they have not risked, or that they have never tried, because they think if it doesn’t work out, if the world doesn’t make them ‘go viral’, it is tantamount to being nothing. Those people will attack, they will use the anonymity of the web, or the distance between your effort and theirs to berate and slander and cut down who you are. And I understand that not everyone has the self-confidence to face such a world. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. But, as a man who has written songs I feared people would hate, and stepped on stage to sing when I knew that I wasn’t one of the vocally blessed, and written a novel half convinced I wasn’t qualified to write, I will say that following through is an awakening of self-discovery. Each show, or story, both the good and bad, has forced me to reflect upon my path, and honestly assess who I am and where my power lies to affect others for the better.
I don’t know if lots of people will read my novel, or even if the subject matter is cared about by most. But in a few days, it will be released, out in the wide world, to be seen… or ignored… hated… or enjoyed. I feel strongly about its quality, and am confident, if it is read, that most will really enjoy the journey within its pages. And my answer to those who hate it? “My friend, I tried with all my heart, and all my love, to do honor to the gifts that God has blessed me with.”
I would encourage you all to try, to push the boundaries of those passions you love, those things you spend hours doing, perfecting, and to put that love into the world. The world will never get better by taking from it, only by giving to it, and you all have something unique to give. Let it fly, and do your best to not just hear the negative joyless, but look beyond to the courage you had to love the world in a way only you could.
The Last Saint