When Process is Not Enough

I’ve met a number of people lately whose process is so important to them that they do not think about profiting from the product. One such belongs to my poetry reading group. She also writes poetry, but has no interest in seeing it published. A friend paints strong and beautiful paintings but has no desire to enter competitions or to have the work exhibited. A musician plays only for his own entertainment and doesn’t seek an audience. In many ways I envy these people, at least to the extent that they are comfortable with their decisions and remain productive. They are very committed and definitely not hobbyists but completely wed to their art form.

This is very different than imagining yourself to be something you are not, such as the artist who dabbles, considers himself to be a professional, and critiques other people’s works in his own genre as if he is an expert in the field.

I envy the fact that the talented and dogged individual artists I mentioned, free from the internal editing that occurs when we want to appeal to an audience, are quite possibly able to reach an area of flow and detachment reserved for the egoless and heroic. I’m jealous that they don’t have to worry about the presentation, the networking, or the competition. Indeed, some may rightly feel that this is the best way for them to continue to pursue their art forms while buffeted by the complications that come with aging and/or illness.

What they give up, however, (willingly or unwillingly) is the informed judgment of their peers, the acclamation that comes with achievement, the special camaraderie between like-minded individuals pursuing excellence, and the knowledge that someone, somewhere, is seeing beauty and worth in their product and is inspired and influenced by their hard work and vision.

No matter what your age, if you truly want to open the eyes of others to what you see and feel, process in and of itself is not always enough.


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