Why I do this

Recently, my friend Will wanted to know why it is so important to me to sing, act and perform. This topic of conversation had arisen because an acquaintance's daughter had committed suicide; I had inquired if she had been an artist of some persuasion.

"No," came the reply. "Why?" he chuckled. "Do you know a lot of artists who commit suicide?'

"Well, I have about one friend or acquaintance a year who does and they are artists, typically," I explained. The first was nearly 15 years ago.

A sobering look calmed his face. "Oh. I didn't know. I'm sorry."

"Don't be. It's what happens." And thus I was en route to an explanation of what propels artists to be artists.

It is an intangible thing, the drive to do, to create, to design, to develop, to express. It is difficult to define, especially for those who do not have such a motivation. Perhaps it is simpler to explain why I do it:

There is something magical and fulfilling for me when I sing or act or record voice over or perform in some role. Each is an opportunity to learn something new, become something other than myself, illustrate something untold, and expand perspectives. It's exciting! It's challenging! (And I love challenge.) The challenge is inherent in so many capacities, too--translation, memorization, expression, intonation, information, education, comprehension, and more. There is challenge in singing because there is no one "right way" to perform Bach. There is challenge in acting because there is no singular "right way" to present Ophelia. It is the interpretation that is essential to art and the perpetual goal of further refinement that creates drive. There is no perfection in art, only additional revision.

I believe there is an innate desire for self-expression that is intrinsic to all artists--something that, when repressed or unexpressed, serves as an albatross of the soul. It is is this expression that must be released. It is this desire that must be sated.

To create art is the best kind of gift, I think: the gift of oneself. As an artist, I can give nothing higher, nothing more worthwhile, nothing more personal, nothing more sincere. I perform to give. I give because to give is to love. It is this selfless act of giving that satisfies the artistically selfish desire to be understood.

This is why I do it.


Andy said...

Bravo! Very well said, indeed.

Thank you for this rare glimpse at the inner you, Alecia.

'Whalehead' King said...

Well said. May it always be this way.