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  • cogswellmatt77

Performance Artist

I've been reading Julia Cameron's Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity. It is a sequel to The Artist's Way. For the first book, I did many of the suggested activities and writing prompts. I have not done that so much for this book, but I still enjoy reading her stories and essays. The books are broken down by weeks. This week's chapter touches upon ideas that I myself am struggling with; the chapter title is Discovering a Sense of Camaraderie.

One of the first main ideas is about keeping the drama in the work and not in the worker. It refers to the sense of anguish I've been feeling. After a recent (perceived) blow to my ego, I wrote to one of my fellow creatives/mentors/friends that I've been wondering why I'm even bothering with my artistic career because "it is going nowhere." Logically, rationally, intellectually, I know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. My bruised ego cries at me and says, "You tried something new. It did not work. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Go to jail and just stay there because no one is going to bail you out." The chapter reminds me (or tries to) to let go of the promotion and just create. It touches upon artistic and non-artistic teachers and how they respond to our desires. I know I have my supporters. Some remind me just when I seem to need to hear that most. Sometimes it's everything, and sometimes it's not enough. There's more to this chapter, but I put in my bookmark because my website was calling to me.

My website still feels stuck because I feel stuck. I will give myself due credit (see what I did there?) and admit that I have had an incredible set of careers. Even though neither have earned me a considerable amount of money, I have quite the extensive teaching and performing repertoire. My teaching resume is on my website, as are highlights of my artistic career. I changed my landing page to be less wordy and formal, in other words "academic and boring as fuck." Instead of summarizing what people could discover by looking through the website, I put seven labels of who I am in CAPITAL LETTERS. The first three are the roots of who I am. The other four are things I have already proven I can do well but do not bring me as much joy. It's frustrating when the last four things are also more likely to bring me income. But, the important point for this rambling paragraph is that I put the important things first.

I have a couple testimonials that are part of the new label "Creative Artistry and Testimonials." The blog, another significant sample of who I am, is at the tail end of the welcome categories. I like it there. It invites readers to experience part of my life that extends the content of the website. I have a link to my New Play Exchange profile, but that is pretty skimpy. Yet, it is another part of the glorious tapestry that is me. Various times in 2021 I made STUPID MISTAKES and deleted my old YouTube profile, and now my new one has zero subscribers, and it is surprisingly hard to get people to 'smash that Subscribe button.' I want it on my website, though, so people can look at it and discover yet another part of my life's work.

When setting up this website with Google, I had to give myself a title. That title is Performance Artist. Sometimes I don't think that's the right phrase, but it is all encompassing. It creates this image of me standing in the middle of a parking lot and performing as a mime. Maybe that's what I should be doing. Maybe that's the ticket to get recognized. This is pretty close to performance art.

This is currently my highest clicked upon video, with 16 views. Oh, how that kills me. I once had a video that gathered over 1000 clicks, but that performance is gone, as is the record of some that made it at least into the 50 and Above Club. I beat myself up about this daily, especially since I had 50 subscribers then.

In an earlier blog post, I mentioned that I was not one of the six finalists for a solo show competition. My initial hurt ego response was to not support those six, even though I was invited to attend a virtual celebration where all participants would be acknowledged. Well, after redesigning my website (which still doesn't show how fabulous I am, but I paid for this at the end of the year and thus use it), I picked myself up from the pool of self-pity and accepted the invitation. I was asked to supply websites, so I submitted my main website and the direct URL for my YouTube channel. Another request was for a professional picture or one I like. I don't have current headshots and am in no rush to do so at the moment. I wound up submitting a photograph that was taken in March 2019 - forever ago.

I've been saying that I need some time away from all the promotion, but I think my need is even deeper than that. I think I need to rediscover parts of myself that have nothing to do with any kind of career. I need to return to a time when I enjoyed "doing things" because I enjoyed doing them, for me, only for me. For a similar thought process, see

Yes, that time away sounds incredible. Can someone please train my brain to do that?

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