The sound of crickets

Fence-FilteredImagine, if you will, a world where an artist making art or music feels connected and supported by their community.

In this world, the indicators of connection and support are made up of simple forms of acknowledgement. Nothing elaborate and time-consuming. In this world, it is as simple as pressing the play button on an embedded widget, or pressing on a link in order to look at and become engaged – if only for a moment – in that artists work.

 

But imagine what it must feel like to work on something and not get any kind of feedback. Even though this world had made it so easy to engage, encourage, support and give feedback, imagine how disheartening it must be to not receive any kind of social kibble in response to a finished work.

Also, imagine what it must be like for an artist trying to explore the leading edges of their art and not have anyone to exchange ideas and enthusiasm with – except for a smattering of people in far-flung places scattered throughout the globe. This artist gleans a sentence of encouragement here – thumbs up and hearts there. These nourishing breadcrumbs of encouragements mean a lot to this isolated artist, but they don’t go very far as a foundation of support.

But also, imagine that this artist wants to break through to a place in creation and exploration where little bits of encouragements from others – though nice – mean little. Even though their artform is decidedly wrapped up in having an audience to receive their ideas, they have had to learn how to survive (indeed, thrive) enough to produce a staggering body of work.

At some point, the artist is going to ask themselves if maybe they have just been deluding themselves from the very beginning. Maybe all that self-talk about being a creator and an exceptional being are just the tawdry dreams of the mediocre. Then, the artist must decide they know their taste in art and music, or what-have-you isn’t totally rooted in banality. There is no hiding from the intrinsic urge to make more art, and that is what they do.

I am trying not to sink into the heartbreak and alienation of this emotional place. I am seeking a vibration in my heart that doesn’t care or need encouragement or support from others to keep making my art. I have been here again and again, and I keep making music. I clearly can’t help myself.

I welcome the day when one of the people I share life with – beyond my kind and patient husband, or my daughter who loves me – has a little something extra in their hearts to press play and not be afraid to listen. Maybe even give me a little social kibble for my efforts. I’m not going to muscle my way onstage at your gig or embarrass you in front of the cool kids. I just want a little pat on the head and a cookie every once in a while – just like anyone else making art.

So I wonder, is there a reason for the lack of interest from others? Does it matter? Will I ever get what I want? What is it about myself prevents this deeply-desired connection? How can I stop pinching myself off from the support I think will make my life better in the having of it?