I’m a little jealous of musicians. I think they have this whole self-acceptance thing down better than we writers do.
Every artist wants to be accepted, praised, and paid very well. We all want to be regarded as a great artist and to be among the rich and famous. There’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with wanting it, and maybe its even healthy to admit to such desires.
At the same time, there is the reality that most of us will not get to those lofty heights. Some will make some money, and some won’t.
This is where a lot of musicians have an edge. There seems to be a lot of fear among writers. People worry about whether their writing is good enough, or whether it will be accepted. I don’t see musicians doing that as much, and most musicians won’t ever get any credit.
There is a music festival I go to every year. The third week of September, a town of 12,000 will become a town of 35,000, and it is the highlight of the year. Musicians come from all over, and they have all the levels of talent that exist.
They have the national flat pick championship there, as well as a lot of other contests. Finger picking, banjos, mountain dulcimers even. It is pretty prestigious to win the national flat picking championship. People have come from as far as Japan to compete, and a Japanese guy won it one year.
Some of the top acoustical acts in the country will also be there. It is called bluegrass, but it is much more blue than grass. Here is the website. http://wvfest.com/
But all that talent is not what makes me want to go back every year. There are literally a few thousand other musicians in the campgrounds. There are 24-hour long jam sessions, and you can walk up and take a seat any time you like. It doesn’t matter if you are any good or not. No one cares. If you think you can, and have an instrument, you are welcome to join in.
There is an artistic freedom there. There are some horrible musicians. There are also some amazing musicians that are just as good as those making millions and on the main stage.
Sometimes you will see someone with a guitar, or fiddle, standing in the background. They want to join in, but have some fear or lack confidence. Usually someone will notice and call them to join in the circle.
It is just a different spirit. That is the kind of freedom we need to have as writers. Medium, and a few other places, are eternal jam sessions that we are free to join. You don’t have to be great. You don’t even have to be good. And the cool thing is, you will get better by joining in.
That is the kind of freedom I want to feel as a writer.
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