The articulation of human experience is your job.
It is your whole job as an artist.
(thus said my inner Nanny to me last night)
Well … that’s almost your whole job.
The other part is sharing it.
Don’t roll your eyes at me. Remember … I’m inside your head, they’re always rolled as far as I’m concerned. But listen – I get it. You think they should just give you accolades. They. Should. Because you’re so great. Because you’re an artist. You shouldn’t have to do the work of sharing.
Well, get over it, you big baby.
Advocating and supporting YOUR voice is your job.
The voice YOU were given.
Good, bad, beautiful, brash, weird, classic, out-of-style, in-style, devoid of style.
You are the only one who can raise your voice, who can speak for it in the world.
The things you love, the angels you hear.
Your whole job as an artist is to articulate your human experience, share your vision, raise your voice.
So do it.
Fame is irrelevant in terms of your job. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It may affect your life or not, but it’s irrelevant to your job. Which is to pass the baton of human experience — to the one person who needs your utterly personal insight, your absolutely unique articulation – so they can take their own next step, utter their own next articulation.
This you give to one single person at a time.
And each single person is equally as important as each other single person.
And one single person is equal in value to ten million.
There is no ‘greater’ or ‘lesser,’ no ‘fewer’ or ‘more, no ‘bigger’ or ‘smaller.’
The value of sharing human experience is absolute.
Even if you, yourself, are the one person who truly hears your voice, the one whose next step is revealed … you have done your job.
Last week on NPR – somewhere, some time – I heard a writer say, “Yes, well, every writer is looking to articulate the human experience.” I grabbed a pen and wrote it down … and that illuminated one next step for me.
I love hearing that, Jeff.
Thanks, Deborah, for this great blog post. Right now I’m getting ready to hold a workshop for some of my students and other harpists who are already freaking out about doing a recital in a couple of months. We’re “Busting the Big Stage Blues”. I’m going to quote you (with full attribution, of course!) “Good, bad, beautiful, brash, weird, classic, out-of-style, in-style, devoid of style. You are the only one who can raise your voice, who can speak for it in the world.”
YES, YES, & YES!!! Thank you so much for articulating this today!! Of course, the timing is perfect. Thank you for shining and sharing your light so brilliantly!
With Loving Gratitude!!!
Sharing music is sharing our human experience.
Thank you, Deborah. You are teaching us much more than music and harp….
I agree with Donatella
Just when I needed it most! Perfect timing!
Thank you Deborah, this is so beautiful and so inspiring!
Said so well; I will print this so my nanny can hector big baby.
Aye it’s the rub! It’s the raison d’etre! Play on!
(love the illustration DHC)
Hey, Debra, thanks for mentioning the illustration! I can’t remember when I created it, but after I wrote the post and riffled back through my old drawings, I loved it. So happy you noticed it!
Deborah, thank you for the timely inspiration, mirroring and confirmation! I am a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist with a passion for music and its healing and enlivening potential, consistent with my professional, concurrent, longtime, holistic bodywork and healing practice that, for various reasons, I felt I needed to put my professional music pursuits on hold for, several years ago. A year ago, I returned to public music making via a newfound love of Mexican folkloric music that has been a godsend. But lately, whether I stay with this wonderful “son jarocho” or not, the inner stirrings are nudging me back toward my own music with renewed signs of passion and this strong voice: “If you are willing, it is your absolute Responsibility to [articulate and share] your own music as soon as its seed can regerminate. Because… while others can take over son jarocho without you and son jarocho will be just fine, you really don’t want your own music to atrophy inside of you. It is not fair to your voice, not to the world either. If you don’t do it, nobody will, and that calling, that gift will be missed by someone, somewhere (even if just you), unheard. Set it free, help it be embodied, thrive, enjoy its dance, do its work.”
Thank you Bruce! Wow – I just noticed this comment! Beautiful. Congratulations on meeting again with your musical road. I love that quote – “…You don’t want your own music to atrophy inside you … that gift will be missed by someone, somewhere (even if just you)” … as if ‘just you’ were a small thing, when it’s an immensity.
Deborah, thanks for the acknowledgment and for reframing that immense ‘just you’.
wow – this hit home on many levels – teacher, performer, composer, and mother. I’m going to process and see what my inner nanny (she’s called HannaH) thinks about it too.