For most of my life I have reluctantly called myself an artist. My reluctance was based on a stereotype of ‘artist’ as self-absorbed narcissist with delusions of grandeur that I didn’t want to be.
The more complex truth is that there is no category of self-identification, other than ‘human,’ which protects anyone from being, well, human. And the self-descriptor ‘artist’ allows as much room for play, in more ways than one, than any other one I can think of. It not only allows room for play; it demands it. Being an artist demands an authentic and playful engagement with the present. By playful, I mean prayerful and powerful.
I define ‘artist’ in the largest, most comprehensive way I can fathom: human with the awareness that every moment offers opportunity for close attention and creative action.
I use that term to express a sense of responsibility to life, a responsibility to stay open to new information, to feel deeply, to recognize that although life is a mystery I cannot contain or control, I have the potential to meet it with creative intention and presence.
I call myself an artist to invoke and accept the moment-by-moment redemption that allows me to accept my failures with grace and good humor—to move, again and again, beyond incompleteness, beyond failure, into the field of creative possibility, where the action is.
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