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Is it enough to be creative and to make work without the expectation of praise?

Is it enough to just do something because you love to do it and the work itself gives you joy?

Is it enough to live simply not wanting to hold a position of power or recognition?

Is it enough to exist as you are despite being incongruent with society as a whole?

Is it enough to desire to live in this moment, right here and right now?

I have been asking myself these questions as of late and for every single one of them my answer continues to be, yes. I keep coming back to the simple fact that I am enough. I am constantly reminded that what it is I do is enough. What it is I make is enough. What I believe is enough.

This is not to say that I am complacent with where I am at. Far from it actually. Yet, I do feel the need to honor who I am and what it is I do. This should not be belittled simply because I haven’t fought tooth and nail to persuade or justify my existence to you in order to believe in it or me.  I often wonder if we spend more time selling ourselves than actually investing in our work. Our overly politicized culture trapped in a façade of success is really killing the creative process and a sense of equality and diversity in our work and in thought.

Is it a wonder that so many things are passing fads? Are we surprised by the sheer gluttony of our disposable culture? Where has the craft and ritual of process gone? Where has the compassion and understanding for craft gone? Why is it we are unable to see who it is we are within what we make rather than what we can get out of it or where it will take us?

Thinking about all this brought me back some years to a talk back after a concert of Trisha Brown’s at the Harold Washington Library Theater presented by the Dance Center of Columbia College. There was a question that Shirley Mordine asked Trisha regarding the making of her work and who she makes it for. I was surprise by this question but at the same time understood its context. Many people know her as a very intellectual and conceptual cutting edge choreographer and I believe the question was designed to get at what kind of audience she makes her work for.

What surprised me was her response. She very quickly answered that she makes her work for her and for her friends. At the time I thought that this might be why many people are not quite able to grasp her post-modern conceptual approach to work and thought it a very interesting response. Yet now, I believe the answer was something so much more simple and true. What I think she meant is what I am beginning to understand for myself now. She was making work that fulfilled her and that would engage the people she loved around her in conversation and thought about life, art and aesthetics.

When I think of myself now and go back the very questions I presented earlier I realize perhaps I am coming back to what I missed as a young dancer and choreographer hungry for success. What I missed was clarity of being over a desire to be acknowledged or recognized. What I understand now is that I no longer wish that recognition, I just wish to make and share with those that I love engaging in the art and act of making something beautiful.