A while back I got treated like a nobody. Worse, an artistic nobody. Snap. I’m supposed to make my living doing artistic things. If I’m an artistic nobody isn’t that a horrible awful thing? Doesn’t that mean I’m worthless? Not doing my job? (Who exactly am I asking these questions to? Moving on)
Well, it depends. About 80% of the time I LOVE being a nobody. Even an artistic nobody. When you’re nobody that means no one has a set in stone impression of what you do and how you do it. I can write (mostly) whatever I want, when I want and how I want. My “Somebodiness” (new word!) comes from our customers, who really aren’t looking to say “You’re an artist!” they’re looking for plays that work for them. And that’s what I strive to provide.
And the other 20% of the time? I get turned down for grants (no “Professional” productions) I get turned down for slots in seasons, I get rejected for speaking engagements, I get sneered at in reviews. It’s a short time wound though. Because I know what I do and where my work belongs.
That’s why I love this post from Hugh MacLeod over at the gaping void who says “My work doesn’t belong in art galleries, it belongs in cubicles.” But, but, but, he’s an artist? Why doesn’t he want to be in art galleries? Doesn’t every artist want that? Knowing where your work belongs is an amazing feeling. There are many ways to thrive in the arts and many different ways to be somebody. Trying to cram into a box that doesn’t necessarily fit simply because it’s someone else’s version of “sombodiness” is simply no good.