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Branching out from the trunk…

October 20, 2011

I rarely reflect out loud. But this had some deeper meaning today. I hope my artist friends appreciate it.

Nowadays, there is a thin line between being a fan and being a professional. Sports figures are deified by fans that walk around wearing their jerseys and their shoes. Celebrities no longer keep any part of their lives secret. Anything you ever wanted to know about anybody famous can now be found on the Internet. Why would we need to spend time finding ourselves, when we can so easily spy on the lives of everybody else? In today’s world, a person can be famous for being nothing at all. But, leave it to the artist to challenge status quo. I believe that being a fan is not what a legacy should be built on. I am a huge baseball fan. I also enjoy football, golf and basketball. I’m a fan. I am a fan or art and storytelling. But, being a fan is not where my legacy exists.

 My legacy is about me being an artist. It’s about me exposing my off-kilter brain to the world. I had a moment of clarity recently, while attending a regional conference. Speaking at the conference was one of my favorite artists. As this person spoke to a few hundred people, I found myself looking at their life story and searching for similarities to my own life story. Ooh, there’s one! We both did blah-blah-blah at the same time. And there’s another one. We both wear hats! Then, I started to notice differences. This person had kids. I have a wife and dog. This person had gone to two different schools. I had gone to five. This person was three years younger than me. And look at what they had already accomplished. ROAD-BLOCK!

 Then, (thanks to my wife, who loves inspiring with words) I thought of the word “legacy” again. Legacy, in a lose definition, is a defining attribute to one’s life. So, if I was looking at someone else’s legacy and comparing it to my own, what good was I doing? If someday, someone lays out on a table everybody’s legacies, what will make mine stand out from the rest? If all I want to do is follow in the footsteps of others, I’ll leave no legacy at all. I’d merely be a follower who never stepped off the beaten path. For an artist, if all you are doing is walking in somebody else’s footsteps, you’re no artist at all.

 I left the conference feeling challenged. How was I going to push through and create my own legacy? And then I realized…

 There is a reason a tree doesn’t grow straight up, in to one tall trunk, with no branches. The beauty is in the branches. They never lose touch with the source, but the farther out the branches spirals, the more beautiful they become. Sure, the strength and the stability may be in the trunk, but the leaves and the flowers and the beauty is in the branches.

 So, there is no doubt in my mind how many artists I owe gratitude to for their intelligence and their inspiration. But, I believe branching out is where the magic happens. Here’s to becoming the longest, most spirally branch possible.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 20, 2011 5:49 pm

    Wow….Very true and very inspiring. I want to be a spiraling branch too!

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