For most of my life I have reluctantly called myself an artist, for lack of a better term. There is no other self-description which allows as much room for play, in every sense.
My reluctance was based on a stereotype of an artist that I did not want to be: the artist as self-absorbed narcissist with delusions of grandeur. Like all stereotypes, this one has some basis in observable fact and is ludicrously oversimplified. The more complex truth is that there is no category of self-identification, other than “human,” which protects anyone from being, well, human.
‘Artist,’ like art itself, is a highly mutable descriptor. I have come to terms with it by defining it in the largest, most comprehensive way that I can fathom: human with the awareness that every moment offers opportunity for close attention and creative action.
I use it 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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