The Audacity of Wanting
It occurred to me this morning getting out of bed. The Audacity of Wanting.
18 hours after the onset of another stifling depressive attack. 12 hours after I found myself swimming to the surface out of that murky jiz-bucket of despair. 8 hours after having sporadically watched the Oscars- marveling at my simultaneous inability to stay focused on the event along with my growing surety that the world of Hollywood and the Oscars, while definitely not for me, is still in the neighborhood of where I'd like to find myself someday.
Meaning, having found my voice. And having felt like a success. Having been HEARD. Witnessed. Acknowledged.
There's the word. Acknowledged. What we all would like to be, for our hard work. For the pursuit, however catastrophic or mundane, however razor sharp or meandering, of our dreams. We'd like to be seen and somehow applauded for how we write ourselves upon the world- how we struggle and burn and hopefully ultimately birth ourselves for real into this world by coming into our own. (Papa may have, mama may have- God Bless the Child...)
And god knows I will likely never find myself up on some podium in glittery sequins under spangly lights thanking the scores who helped put me up there one day. I don't think that's my path. But I do intuit in the dark brown and khaki snakeskin regions of my netherbrain that I'm supposed to make a sound. And that sound is supposed to be heard. By 2 or 20,000. Whatever. And Thus Spaketh Zarathustra.
So I keep going in this queer artistic endeavor of my life. I keep making these records- jumping from one rock of sound in the stream to another- trying to carve that voice out of steam-warped thin air. I keep writing these strange figments of conjoined words in efforts at lyricism-- to pry open the valve of some inner faucet. I make the music and write the words.
But so far, I do not write the songs that make the whole world sing. And I have not penned the Great American Novel. I'm not an Artist of Our Time. And I am not a Blogger to be reckoned with or a Tastemaker to check against all the grimy, newborn notions of the unwashed masses...
I am just some bloke-- well, I suppose a bird if you must be technical about it-- just sitting here. Trying to figure out what to do, how to enact me regularly and consistently such that the rust does not start to overtake the cogs of the machine, and I do not spend a significant portion of the hours life has blessed me with face down, dogpaddling around in my small insignificant pool of poo.
So what am I missing- I ask myself hundreds of times a year. What am I Doing Wrong? What have I Missed? What Path Led Astray did I take? Why have I spent roughly a gazillion hours thus far during my almost 43 times around the sun engaging in a whole lot of godawful maudlin hopeless, snot-producing fury at what appears to be my total ineffectuality?
Perhaps the answer finally plopped itself this AM atop my earthtoned snakeskin brain section like some wayward pizza sauce upon a blouse.
The answer is- the Audacity of Wanting.
This is what I am missing- this is what apparently dropped out of my knapsack on the subway years ago when I was visiting some large urbane city that actually contains a subway... When you want something- I mean really want it....you want it with a fervor and a tenacity and an AUDACITY of character. And this is ESSENTIAL to you getting this thing that you want, because even if it's something you actually have the wherewithal to possess, like a career path, say-- I'm not talking about the undying love of, oh, George Clooney--- Even if you have the power to eventually possess this thing that you want- you will have to slog through shit to get it.
I don't care who you are, and how many 'friends' or 'parents' you have in the industry you wish to inhabit, or the athletic/artistic/scientific/philosophical/irrational goal you wish to attain, the pathway there is just gonna be rocky. It always is. It may not be rocky all the time, you may have pebbles in your way whereas some of us seem to be constantly running into Kilimanjaro, but even so- it will feel crappy to you. You will have to on some level work through those troubled times. You will have to face demons. This is what happens when you truly go for something- and I think perhaps the more noble the dream, certainly the more ambitious, generally the more slogging you will have to do.
So, I'm assuming you're all with me here- right? Wouldn't we all agree, going for something you desire is tough?
And I think what ultimately gets us through these times- the stuff GRIT is made of- is audacity. A little ignorance, a lot of stick-to-it-ive-ness, a bunch of luck and a whole lotta skill and talent will allow us to reach the goal. But in order to keep going through the thinnest of the think-and-thin, you have to have the audacity to believe that what you're doing is meant for you, and thus it is possible.
That takes character.
And I'm not sure that part of my courage has ever been screwed to the sticking place.
Now, I think it's fairly easy to see what happened to that chunk of the Holly puzzle. As I (too frequently) rifle through the many moments of my artistic past, I can pinpoint the forks in the road where I, like Hansel and Gretel, kept dropping the crumbs of my desire along the way.(...would that I could now trace them back to the source..to the nest egg of my hope and desire and return to the blissfully ignorant belief in myself and that the world would somehow, someday receive me.)
These crumbs of youthful hope and wild abandoned desire were shed every crappy audition I had, or humiliating casting director session, or tough gig where three people showed and I'd promised the booker 25 and then someone spilled a beer on my keyboard. These crumbs fell out of my pockets after putting hours and hours into something I felt really proud of, like a scene for a showcase, or a sketch for a comedy show, or later in my life, an album, and upon presenting it to the world (which always seemed to consist of more hours than creating the thing itself) hearing little more than the vast void of nothing in return. Not the rejection, but the nothingness, the apathy, as if I had done nothing at all. So yes- these bits and many others like them were the particular contours of my thinnest moments. And I've got buckets to spare in my memory.
But hey- blah blah blah. We've ALL got those memories. Everyone has failed, and been overlooked and underpaid, and rejected and scorned and ignored. I ain't no martyr and I certainly ain't no anomaly! I suppose I just didn't have a large chunk of bread in my pocket to begin with- so perhaps I tanked out early. Lost the audacity- lost the fuel early and couldn't for the life of me regain it surrounded by what appeared to me to be a dumpster-full of jaded experiences.
My husband just informed me today that Obama's latest book is entitled "The Audacity of Hope." Perhaps you already knew that, dear reader, all the way through this here entry. Well, I did not. I had not remembered that. But heck, that is a helluva title- got a real ring to it. That guy may really go places one of these days!
Hope and Wanting are neighbors, I think. And yes, I think they both are fueled by audacity. You have to have some balls to be able to sustain hope in this world that continually provides so many dreary window views. You have to have some sort of screw loose to be able to keep wanting something and going after it after the universe has slammed your fingers in the door many times over. You have to have and maintain Audacity. To dream and hope and WANT.
And yet- that's just what I need right now. Fingers be damned, I can play my guitar with my toes! Eff you big room full of nothing! I will fill you up with my desire to DO THIS THING!
(Too much? You tell me. Haven't played this game in awhile...)