A guest post by Celeste Lovick: “When you love someone, you cannot be afraid of them. The most important thing as a performer is not what the audience thinks of you. It is what you feel about your audience.” Photo by Seth Doyle.
If we don’t release anything, no one will see how imperfect we are at the thing we want to accomplish. No one will laugh at us. No one will reject us. We’ll be safe.
Except that we won’t. Photo by Kevin Urbanski.
An artist who believes he’s an artist develops the confidence to do his art. In order to believe he’s an artist, though, he needs to relinquish certain misconceptions. Photo: “Man eat a guitar” by imacture, Adobe Stock.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: often, when I sit down to write, I feel like a squirmy toddler getting stuffed into a car seat.
Heck, I felt that way while starting to write this very post, before I reviewed the list I’ll show you in a minute. I thought, No one’s going to like this. It’s a dumb idea. I should write about something else. I’m just stealing from other, smarter people.
I’ve lost a lot of writing contests lately. Well, I didn’t lose them, exactly, but I definitely didn’t win anything. I’ve gotten a lot of plain old standard-issue rejection letters, too. It’s been a great opportunity to reflect on how my ego slithers into my creative work. Ultimately, the ego causes all my creative blocks, and probably yours too. It’s what tells me I’m a worthless human if people don’t like my writing, which is the thought underlying every other thought that stops me, thoughts like, But I can’t write until I’ve checked my email. It’s what tells me to write what’ll make me look good instead of what’s true. It’s what stops me from sharing what I’ve written. It pulls my attention to the reception of my work, and away from my real reasons for creating: to touch people, to make them laugh, to show them they’re not alone, to take them for awhile off their mental hamster wheels (we’ve all got them), and to give what I can. Still, I’ve made stuff and shared it. Luckily, we don’t have to lose …
Sometimes, doing creative work can feel like stripping in public. Here’s how to cope with the feelings of vulnerability that result.
“I don’t belong here,” I thought as I looked at the people around me in the fusty university basement. The Director of Carleton’s Master of Journalism program rattled off bios of each participant. My colleagues had founded magazines. They’d written for national newspapers. They were professionals. I’d written a few articles for the UBC student paper. That was it. Photo © Josephthomas | Dreamstime.com
To the extent I’ve implemented what I’ve learned, I’ve felt almost as if I’ve tapped into an enormous electrical current, and all I have to do is touch it to find ideas zapping through my fingertips.
I’ve felt excited, alive and passionate. I’ve filled literally hundreds of pages in multiple notebooks. To the extent that I haven’t implemented what I’ve learned, I’ve basically gone off the deep end.
With the release of Gong’s latest album, Rejoice! I’m Dead!, bassist Dave Sturt knew his band was out on a limb. Gong has gone through 11 official incarnations since it began in a French commune in 1967. Both the band’s co-founders, Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth, died in the last year and a half, and the current lineup contains none of the original members. The first song on the album, a hard rock tune laden with vocal harmonies, sounds different from anything the group has done. And yet audiences have responded to Rejoice! I’m Dead! with renewed fervour.
Lucie Guest is a Vancouver-based actress, comedian, and writer-director. She trained at the prestigious Second City Conservatory in Toronto, and pretty much everything she does cracks me up. Check out our interview to see how she does it. Photos: courtesy of Lucie Guest.