Chris Buck’s “Five Tips For Becoming a Professional Photographer” came across my newsfeed a few days ago, and while I am not striving to become a professional photographer, I’m drawn to posts like this.  I am always curious about what working artists have to say about how they got where they are.  I found this quote especially compelling:

 “It seems that there are two kinds of people in New York, those with a vision, and those without who work for peanuts for those who do.”

I mentioned in an earlier post that the first few months of 2015 had me in a frustrating position. I’d over-committed to working on other people’s projects. I had put my own creativity on the back burner partly because of my people-pleasing habit of saying “yes” when I shouldn’t, and partly because I had a genuine desire to work with some people on their visions. I love working with other people, but as I become more solid in my opinion of my own work, I become increasingly frustrated when I am not able to create for myself. I chose to act on the frustration during that time by being short tempered and surly. Though I’ve made amends where due, I’ve realized something:  I have to start being more selfish with my time, and reserve my energy to nurture my own work. 

Just this week, the universe has helped clear another big one out for me. I was a part of an ongoing project which I joined some time ago thinking it might eventually provide a venue for my work, or at least a bit of exposure for the work I was doing.  As time passed I realized it was providing neither of those things, nor was it providing reasonable financial compensation for my time. I was an invisible contributor to someone else’s big plan. On the same day that I saw Chris Buck’s quote above and made a new commitment toward my own vision, that commitment neatly cleared itself right off of my plate. Relief.

The thing that is most interesting is that the energy of releasing that which was weighing me down creatively and spiritually opened me up to belief in new possibilities for my own work. I’ve been approached by two different people to perform solo work. Both of these gigs (you can see them on my shows page) are just out of my comfort zone, but I have been wanting to get my head more carefully around what it would look like to do them. Having a clear creative slate gave me the confidence to say “yes” to both of these. I’ll be performing one night in a bar and one at an outdoor event. I’m writing new material to flesh out the existing stuff that I think works outside of Tentative Armor and  I’m working hard on improving my skills with the Ableton Push.

My goal with this type of show is to treat it more like a music gig than a theater piece, though some of my stories will still fit in where appropriate. I want to perform electronic sets with lots of space for improvisation on the Push. I am so excited and finding the same energy I had brewing in the early stages of Tentative Armor. I am learning I work best under pressure and saying “yes” to both of these gigs was the perfect motivation to get my new phase of work underway.

This entry became much longer than I expected, but the general idea is: take chances and be the person with the vision. I hope to see some of you guys at these upcoming shows as I dig deeper into the expression of my work.

One thought on “The One With The Vision

  1. Judy McCullough

    Michael, as always your vision inspires mine. As I spend the last week with my four and five year old students I am reminded that it is my responsibility to be a person with vision. That’s the best and longest lasting gift I can offer them.

    Blessings Galore this evening as you share your incredible gift of music with a new audience.


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