Tonight I was struck by some odd compulsion to bring up some fairly recent writings of mine – chronicles, reflections, hell, call them journal entries for lack of a better term. One passage in particular leapt out at me:
I’m aware that Music is unique in that, unlike almost any other art form, it has a way of enveloping and possessing anybody who’s blessed (or cursed) with the predisposition to be a musician. Pushing away, of course, or at least putting itself in front of, all other interests and affinities. Music is a selfish mistress, and she truly does, as Duke Ellington put it so accurately, “play second fiddle to no one.” Furthermore, she wants no one involved with her to put anything before her, be it a person, another vocation, or any other art form of any kind. I’ve seen this principle in effect with so many musicians who seem wholly absorbed in music, even to the detriment, or lack, of a personal life. And it’s this quality that I dislike, even despise.
I wrote this during the second week of July, when I was on the plane to Los Angeles for a week and some days. Revisiting this passage, I was acutely reminded of some feelings that have been very real to me as recently as when it was composed. In fact, for years leading up to this writing, these feelings had been showing up, first as unidentified angst, and, as time went on, more and more as discernible frustrations.
Rather than delve into a long philosophical speculation, which could easily happen here, I’d simply like to use this passage as a starting point for a continuing conversation. The issues brought up here are really the crux of a unique way of looking at the world from an Artist’s (or Impresario’s) standpoint.
To be clear, an Impresario, as defined by marketing guru Seth Godin, is someone who “puts on a show” or “creates a place or a venue where people can interact… Because that’s what’s missing, people are lonely, people are lonely in business settings, and they’re lonely in personal settings.”
So, if we are to use this definition, it would make sense that the Impresario not let his concerns rest with the Art in question. The Art becomes a vehicle for human interaction, relationships – what I call “Intimacy.” The Art serves the Humanity, rather than the other way around.
Some things have changed in my life since I wrote the above passage – I am now feeling much more fulfilled in my personal life, and I don’t feel repelled from my instrument, or from Music, as may seem suggested. But I find it interesting to observe that my convictions still stand – it makes me sad to imagine a lonely Artist, maybe because I’ve been one. The Impresario understands the importance of Intimacy and holds it before all else – even the Art itself.