Actually, I wish I were a film maker or a musician, even a singer might be fun. The great thing about dance, theatre, music and film are that they are collective art forms. So, when you do your art form, others are in the room. That’s what I want. In the creative phase, I want others in the room. Right now, nobody is in the room but me, so when I finish writing this blog and post it, the sound of clapping will be fairly quiet because it’s just me. It’s hard to make a clapping racket alone.
I remember one of the first plays I took my son to and he was transfixed watching Alfred Molina on stage. He said afterwards, “I love it, I have to do this.”
“What did you like about it?”
“The clapping at the end,” he said. “Definitely, the clapping.”
So, if you are a writer, not only are you alone in the room during the creative act, (think how discouraging this could be in other situations, in other creative acts) but you are alone when it is finished. (Again, discouraging!)
And then there is the audience situation, the great thing about dance, theatre and film is that when your creative work is being appreciated, there is usually a substantial crowd of people in the room, so you feel the weight of appreciation.
Then there’s art. You may do your art work alone, but the thing I really like about art is how easy it is to take it in. We went to dinner at my friend Kim’s house recently. Her husband Tom is an amazing artist. I really liked looking at his paintingx and trying to understand them. Even after a couple glasses of wine, I could wax eloquent about his work. If Kim had asked me to look through some new poems, I would not have been as happy. Although like most non artists, I am happy to tell you what I think of when I look at art, I like time to chew over words before I spit out a reply, and I like to be alone.
The advantage of writing is of course, that the consuming of the art form—reading—is a private act that can be done almost anywhere. In the shower or while swimming are less favorable but possible under the right circumstances. Whereas art, dance, theatre and film usually require special situations, venues, rooms. You can read on trains, planes and buses. Sadly, I’ve seen people reading in cars. While driving.
But the most difficult part in getting one’s work out into the world is that you are a cave dweller if you are a writer. You have to come out of your cave, understand the world of editing, publishing, publicity, social media, and you have to talk to people. And you don’t know how. So you go back into the cave angry. And emerge later. Telling people how you aren’t appreciated. That doesn’t make them love you more. You start to seem misanthropic. Writers can be fun. Funny and fun. There is a lot you can learn from writers. About patience mostly.