“Of fine little friends you have made.”
(Amanda Palmer The Point of It All lyrics that seem to have that sarcastic tone I like.)
I finished reading Ms. Palmer’s book The Art of Asking today. I recommend it to any and all artists. First off–it will make you realize that you are, in fact, an artist. Then you will realize that ALL artists question whether or not they are, in fact, an artist. Then when you are more than halfway through the book, an awesome and bold story about her relationship with her mother will make you realize that we are ALL artists.
We are all artists that have a need to have our art noticed and respected. I respect Amanda’s many arts as well and her mother’s very different art. And after reading this, I have a much greater respect for my own art that I work very hard doing. That my dancers come to my studio week after week and work very hard doing. We are all artists doing our thing.
And when we do our thing, we get a great deal of respect. The compliments from audience members, the people that recognize me at the market and Starbucks, the emails from people who saw the show and wanted to reach out and tell me they liked it. The others who find me to say “are you the ones that did that piece that had a ghost dancing in the middle?? That was my favorite piece ever.” There are many connections that fulfill our need for respect of our art.
My main problem is noticing them like I should. Now I’m sitting writing this blog thinking about all the things that have happened over the years. What admirers have done and said to show their love of us and what we do. Why didn’t I realize before today how many there were?
I had my first student stalker when I taught a workshop in Indiana a few years back. After my class –in another location, I noticed a girl staring at me. I thought I had my skirt tucked in with my ass hanging out until she came up to me and told me she took my class and loved it. She stared at me the rest of the day, evening and during the gala show. I was not creeped out. I’ve been her when I saw a dancer that inspired me. I was thrilled to fill that spot for her. I may have been a little more subtle than she was but we all have our ways.
We’ve had a handful of male stalker fans too. Not “call the police” male stalkers but men that show up for every show and stare at the dancer they like. Many of us have been the one the stalker liked. When I was the one, I didn’t like it. It brought back memories of when I was stalked by a real-life “call the police” stalker which caused me to create fears in my head when my eager fan showed up. He wasn’t dangerous though. He was just my fan.
Here is a list of under-appreciated love: kids who want to play with our props, men who yell things at us like we are strippers, and women who come up and say, “it’s so nice to see performers that have real bodies.” Yeah, you were trying to compliment us but all we heard is “you’re fat!!” Truth!!
But I get it now. You all like us. And I’m going to work very hard to notice that from here.
Artists (which of course means everyone) I urge you to read. You will feel better about your art when you do!!