I took a week off from Thursday Insights last week – I’d like to tell you it was planned, that I was managing mood, space and time, and enabling myself to reach a higher plateau of consciousness…

But the truth was that I was doing some work, and just didn’t get around to the writing.

Now, let’s be clear – I consider my story-telling to be work, even though it brings me joy most of the time, but when I say work, I mean the sort that brings in money. Yes, that’s the insight for this week – I subsidize my art through my work.

There I said it. Put me in among the ranks of every other artist on the planet. Whoop-de-doo.

For most of us, there is little to no money to be made from art, music, stories, books, poetry, sculpture, painting. And, particularly for musicians, the audience expects the work to be delivered for free.

[just read some of the comments on David Lowery‘s observation that over a million plays of his song Low on Pandora yielded him the princely royalty of $16.89 – don’t spend it all at once, David!]

Yet, we do it still.

Because we yearn. Because it feels as natural as breathing. Because to not do it would be to cut off some essential part of our very self.

But do I yearn to make music? Do I yearn to write stories? Do I yearn to see one of my scripts put into production?

Actually, not really

[which may surprise you]

They’re all things that I would like, or even love, to happen. And, in the making of music and writing of stories, there is joy for sure.

But they’re not why I yearn for my muse.

I believe I yearn for two things: to be heard (significance), and to be understood (love and acceptance).

The stories I tell, the words I write, and the songs I sing are all means of expression of those two things for which I yearn – something I’ve had to learn over the years. In fact, my journey to understand myself as a story-teller has strongly informed what I teach via Writers Unblocked.

It’s why, despite my capabilities as a solo acoustic musician, I will always prefer a trusted band around me. It’s why I’ll always prefer discussing my books with people who’ve read them, than with people who are considering reading. It’s why last Sunday, when someone publicly praised my ability to write deep, nuanced characters, I lit up like a candle. It’s why I love to act and direct.

It’s why I tell these stories, why I sing these songs and, truth be told, why I do the work it takes to fund my muse.

So please: hear me, understand me, every time you do I gain a little strength to keep going.

Oh, and just so I say it – support local music, we don’t get near a million plays – I’ll let you do the math.

Vince Sig 131x89