Thursday, December 13, 2007

Small...Maybe...But with "qualifiers"

There is still a place in this world for ambition. When is "small" good and when is it bad?

Every time I have something I want to say I predict one of two responses.

"Amen, brother" or "Don't preach to me"

Don has had some rumination about Scott Walter's comment. So have I. However, this morning I think I'd rather issue a challenge. Before anyone tells me what they intended in their post, let me say that this is not a rebuttal to Don's post or Scott's comment.

I have often said after reading my Zen that there is a virtue in smallness. However, I do believe that in the end smallness is a part of the journey. Smallness should not be the destination.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to change the world. And if you want to change the world, the best place to start is your own neighborhood. But it is not enough to stop at the city limits.

We all want contentment. But if we decide that the path to contentment is to want less, do less, see and hear and attempt less, down that road lies perdition. Nobody wants to be Don Quixote Nobody wants to be Cassandra. But, in every realm of human experience it is those that attempted the exceptional that transformed the world we live in. You don't have to attempt world wide distribution of your creative expression. But you should conceive of distributing it to as many people as possible. You should write about BIG things. You plays should be about BIG things. And realize that it is Never Enough. Why? Because tomorrow's needs present themselves regardless of my contentment with today's meal.

When I consume art, I can conceive of being content. When I create art, contentment is a mirage. The piece is never finished. There is always someone out there who hasn't see my creative expression that might derive some kind of value from it.

If live puts us in a position where we have only so much resource to dedicate to our creative expressions, well that is reality. But, I always want to be reaching for something that is just outside my grasp. I always want to be able to life 5 pounds more this week than I did last week. I want lofty goals. I want...I want...I want...

Wow, Bob that's sort of selfish isn't it? That is what I think of as being alive. That is the first thing the actor is taught to figure out. I get out of bed in the morning because of WANT.

Living and creating within your means seems like a good thing. But never stop trying to improve your means. Never stop trying to conceive of your words, your images, your expression in new ways that add value to them to more people.

The solution not be to find contentment with a smaller circle. It is not enough to merely be heard. You must find something to say that matters. And if what you say matters then get that in front of as large an audience as you can.

Bob Fisher


Don Hall said...

" should conceive of distributing it to as many people as possible. You should write about BIG things."

Those are two completely different goals. One can create art that is about BIG things without conceiving of BIG distribution of it.


Devilvet said...

That depends on your definition of "is"


What I am saying is that your distribution should be a big as possible at all times. Cast the widenes net possible always. Don't sing karoke at home alone becuase you're convinced that the prettier girl is going to win the talent contest.

"Those are two completely different goals"

yes, and for my 2 cents, I say doing one without the other is half the job.

If I can conceive of something big to say and dont say it to as many people as I possibly can...what is the point?

I might as well never leave the rehearsal period. Just keep rehearsing and never open.

When someone says "Forget the world, I'm focusing only on my town" Then I say...let that be a step in the jounrey, but if your town is the destination. You're already there.

The reason I choose this town is becuase, Chicago is the best place to do as much work as possible for as many people as possible without having to worry about compromising my principles.

I am interested in exploration...and I think I need to think big to do it.

When I couldnt conveice of it getting any bigger, I left Chicago. I'm not saying we have to do a road tour of Dada or Clay Continent. I'm saying that...if what I have to say has value, if I believe in it...then I want to make the choice to have a responsiblity to myself to distribute it as best I can to as many people I can.

I dont need folks in another town to tell me to keep your Chicago voice in chicago. My state is for my state. I dont need to settle for the idea that well my piece is not as sweet or marketable so I'll just settle for what crowd I can get.

The question with asking "When is it enough" is that there is a danger of one are flirting with the notion of settling for less.

Who was the dude who told you he was tired and didn't want to analyse his improv performance? How is that different from someone saying, I'm convinced this is as good as it is going to get so I settle.

I'm not saying it is something I haven't done in the past. I'm just saying that I only have one life to live, I dont want to live it by halves.

Never settle.

once it is enough that is when it becomes stagnant.

You mention your feelings about the Dada show. I believe in the idea of mining as much joy from the experience as it was. But, the idea that that is limit of the ambition regarding the project? I don't buy it. Or maybe I should say I dont "get" it.

Don Hall said...

Good points.

I'm all about big distribution as long as I don't have to do it. I find no fulfillment whatsoever in courting money and giving handjobs to convince people that what I have to say is of value.

I'll simply focus on saying it the best I can and always strive to improve how I am saying it. I don't think that is a lack of ambition - it's a re-focusing of ambition.

Devilvet said...


you know me, i much prefer to talk art than art commerce.

I would never charge you as having a lack of ambition. I might however say that your re-focused ambition is handicapped if you or someone whom believes in what you do... doesnt work to distribute the fruits of your ambition. Life throws enough obstacles in our way or getting things done.

I am growing a crop. Some how it has to get to the grocery store.