Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Van Gogh Equation

What I have learned, or remembered and relearned, is that if I put my work out there, in front of everyone, it has a chance to be remembered itself. Even if no one reads it today, someone might discover it tomorrow. Vincent van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime, but that did not stop him from painting. And today he is thought to be one of the best, if not the best, artists of all time.

Jan van Gilse – my newest hero – saw his countrymen resist his music as too Germanic, then saw the Nazis ban all performance and try to destroy his manuscripts. Nicholai Miazkovsky composed 27 symphonies, most performed briefly in his homeland Russia, then, like Haydn, chucked aside awaiting the next. They had no staying power, even in Russia, and were ignored abroad == but now we can hear all 27 if we want.

Then there’s Mahler. Always there is Mahler, who rarely got rto hear one of his elaborate and beauty-filled symphonies performed but knew he would be remembered for them someday. Today we consider him one of the greats.

Thousands upon thousands of works of art go unrecognized or enjoyed only by our closest friends and families. I thank you for that, by the way. But fame or value, even after I am dead, yet may come. It’s like the Lotto: you can’t win if you don’t play. You won’t gain an audience if you hide your work. Or, to paraphrase that famous line from “Field of Dreams”: if I write it, they will read.

In that spirit I must be less shy, less anxious, less afraid. Rejections aside, failure would be failure to try.

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