Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Slash Artist

When I was younger I was a proud slash artist. Specifically, I was a Writer/Composer/Singer/Actor/Producer/Director/Choreographer. And everyone told me I was spread thin and needed to focus. I refused. I said there was precedence for slash artists in my field. Just look at Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Rinde Eckert, Mikel Rouse and John Moron. But years later, after moving out to LA, I capitulated. I put all my energies into writing. Words. For the screen. That's it. Nothing else. I cut myself off from theatre and music and a part of me died. I considered it necessary. Part of growing up. Part of the compromise of life. And I expected that when all my resources were so finely trained in one direction, I'd make extraordinary progress quickly. Like taking a hose that branches in 5 directions and closing 4 of them. The pressure coming out of the remaining nozzle should be over-powering. Dazzling. Something to make note of. But what I've found is that I knew exactly who I was and what I was doing when I was a multi-hyphenate. And my voice was piercingly clear - to myself and to others. Now that I've winnowed down the variety of tasks before me, I feel like I've lost my identity. My style seems vague. Other people could write what I've written. Perhaps that's part of my choice to write things that I think are more commercial and will reach a wider audience than my avant garde operas of yore. But isn't it interesting that in focusing my identity I've lost my voice?
Did you ever follow what seemed to be everybody's advice and find it that it backfired?

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