I've noticed over the years that the tone of my personal journal entries come out in a spectrum from exclusively private: my inner dialogue working its way into clarity via page - that letting of the internal to become external in order to reflect... to a tone that has a public consciousness: my inner dialogue knows you hear it and therefore edits a bit more that she would otherwise - she is opinionated and bold and allows that still small voice the vastness of a blank page to be read.
I'll make an assumption here that I am not the only one who finds this to be true. This personal wrangling seen from just enough of a bird's eye perspective that it is honed by that outside eye. It just so happens that now I am approaching a season of my life-in-pursuit-of-an-artistic-existence that I must write (know/ask) about myself with a deepened degree of understanding: who am I as an artist? what do I hope to bring forth in me and in you though the performance I make? why does it matter?
If you are an artist of any ilk (or even just a person in the world attempting to come into your voice and purpose) you might understand the nature and difficulty of these brand of questions.
And yes, it is grant season too. So these prodding questions come into high relief and thereby land exactly in that tenuous space between the internal and external. Not only are the grantors asking these questions of specific project proposals and the minds behind them, the minds are tossing and turning with these questions within. The question response to the questions in this context tend toward: well, who do I need to be in order to get funded? what side of my artistic self should be pulled forward in order to please the panel?
I've spent a decade resisting this phenomenon. We all want our cake and to eat it too, yes? The funders want articulate artists who they can count on to make something worthwhile (much to unpack in this statement, I know). The artists want to keep making, so they acquiesce or overly "academcize" their creative language; they take time away from that brooding, murky, oft intangible space of creating and go cognitive: they administrate. Now, those who have folded this application process neatly into a business composed of eager young artists as interns and partner/friend writers, have learned to accept that "this is just how it is." Artists must be able to write about their work - or at least communicate enough with someone who will - with as much quality as is expected for the funded work! In my case, well, I just haven't applied. Until now.
So what is my point? Partly, this post is an exercise in writing for myself. I'm sitting down to write some grants, finally, and I needed to get this out. Partly, I am calling for a new take on artist funding. What if the process shifted to something more conversational - more presentational? Might that take just as much time as reading all the applications? Might we get a more clear understanding of who this artist is and what she is capable of creating?
Maybe I'm complaining. Maybe I'm rambling. Alas, this terrain upon which the internal and the external meet is one that sees into and outside of itself. I am writing this from an honest internal point of view and yet, I am instantaneously composing it to be read. I understand why you want to blog. Its incentive. And the benefit of this being here, and not only in a precious journal sitting on my bedside table, is that maybe someone will actually read this and find resonance with these words.