Posts Tagged ‘art’

I have a tattoo on my wrist, might I add, before wrist tattoos were trendy, that says, “passion”. But I hate to admit that I don’t think I’ve truly found my passion or at least the thing that so many books – historical and modern – describe as the “thing”, the “passion”.

Granted I’ve had nany passionate aspects of life and experiences that I consider passionate and I believe I’m going to keep having them, but if I were forced to be honest, as I’ve been trying to be, I don’t know I’ve found my one true passion. You know, that one thing that you’ll do anything for, and give up anything for, the thing that makes you want to do it day in and day out no matter the reward or lack thereof… Yes, poor grammar but this is a blog so keep reading and stop judging. It’s not a college paper :-). If so, is that love? For those I love I’d do absolutely anything and give up anything, life included, if it means they’ll be safe. Is that it? There must be more, right? Don’t we have to love ourselves properly before we can truly love others or make them happy? Does that love of self include or demand that in order to love ourselves fully and completely, we must find passion?

But is that really it? The “thing”? I’ve heard and read that passion is the one thing you can’t stop doing no matter the threats, or how it may ruin your life? If so, is passion just another form of addiction?

If all that I’ve seen and heard is true, I admit I’ve had many passions, and they continue to grow. But I’ve also discovered that when you go hunting for your passion, some ties get loosened or severed as there may no longer be compatibility with some.   Why is that? Is passion that heavy? Why is she (or he) such a demanding, intense asshole? Or am I the asshole who’s floating in search of more passion because I’m not even sure I know what this “passion” is or should be? I have love. Now how is that different than the passion that is supposed to sustain me and fill me and keep me whole and sane for the rest of my life? Argh! I may need a new tattoo.

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Questions I’ve asked myself today as I scratched the crudely formed words on my phone’s screen with my camera’s drawing tool:

Are my dreams dying a little, day by day, in my workplace? If so, what am I doing to stop that from happening? Or am I allowing this to happen?

Does my workplace fuel my creativity and energy to be the true me? If not, did it ever? Am I lying to myself because I’ve gotten used to the paycheck?

Even if my workplace doesn’t actively foster my creativity and feed my soul with dark chocolate, caramel and grand marnier flavored nuggets of joy, does it at least let me go after the workday is over, to chase my creative goals? If not, am I using my paychecky laced lifestyle to crush my own damn dreams? Hell, do I still have a dream…?

Do you? How do you nurture and encourage your dream(s) to continue growing when you too, are used to the paychecky comfort that comes from a corporate dreamkiller?

Who I Am is now available for your eargasms dear friends, foes, family and freeking freekers!

Natasha Ramsey: Who I Am - Album single cover art

Natasha Ramsey: Who I Am – Album single cover art

Okay seriously all shenanigans aside, (and I have many, I know), this spoken word piece set to a beat will hopefully inspire you to be brave, stand out from the crowd and above all, just BE YOURSELF.  

How would you find me? Search for “Who I Am” wherever you buy or stream your music and there I’ll be!

If you’re interested in hearing only the voices in your head, check out the e-book that started the madness: Hungover Poet on amazon: http://ow.ly/utR5T

I’m an artist at heart (head, body and soul). Art in many forms inspires and drives me, but for-profit business, technology and the understanding of technology – specifically business analysis, project management and product management pays me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike my job, in fact I enjoy it very much. I love working with and learning about technology, performing detailed business analysis and functional specifications in the creation of products. But, it’s not my passion when I wake up at night with a story in my head, nor is it a driving force 24/7. That passion and driving force belongs to the art of storytelling.

I agree that you can be a lifelong learner and creator of art but for many of us, this happens mostly if you’re a lifelong earner – or at least until your art can afford to match or surpass your current or projected worker bee salary. So how do you get to the point of earning decent or relatively good income from your art? For me, I haven’t reached that point of understanding yet nor but I have read what many self-proclaimed and touted experts have to say on the topic. I also don’t foresee giving up my day job because I really do enjoy it and I’m proud of the career I’ve built over the span of approximately 20 years.

So what does this have to do with my artist’s head and my business professional’s wallet? Well, I think I have to accept two things, understand how my worlds intersect with the acceptance that one feeds the other, and remember to celebrate my small wins .

The two things I have to accept:

1. I’m unique but not really. What I mean by this is that while we would all love to think we are unique, we humans may have some differences but we have way more similarities than we’d care to admit. Let’s face it, it’s the differences that stir up or highlight what we call “unique qualities” but I’m sure if I search not-so-far and not-so-wide, I can find another person very much like me. So I need to find a way to sell my “uniqueness” in that I need to offer the world a valuable and worthwhile item and illustrate why it’s different than anything else they’ll come across at the moment. I also need to ensure that it provides much more than the average cuppa joe, which I used in my marketing as you’ll see a little further along in this post, and that like a tasty cuppa something good, it’s a tasty mind treat. I won’t lie, I dreaded “selling” the premise behind my book and still, sometimes do. But this challenge brought me to my next realization.

2. I have to think of my art as a commercial product. This thought evoked screams of phrases that I never really use like, “EGADS” and “YIKES” as well as worn out phrases I use regularly such as, “Fuckadoodledoo!!! Nooooooo!!! Fucketyfuckaduck”. After all the screaming, I still had to accept the fact that yes, I needed to market a commercial product. Did it make me happy? Hell no. But it was the truth and I couldn’t find a reasonable way to dispute it. Well, I could but then I’d have zero sales.

So how does this intersect with my other life as a business professional? By realizing that my ideas, stories, poems, etc. can be abstract, different, quirky, dark as black on midnight and whatnot but my once I ask for money, it becomes a commercial product that I need to sell and promote like any other computer system I’ve worked hard to build and showcase, and like any other business process and product I’d like a client to pay money for. And as things go with commercial products, there’s a ton of competition out there. So what makes me worth the monetary support? My unique points of view and the way I tell a story. See how I’ve come full circle here? 🙂

So to illustrate this commercial product mindset, I made sure that my book contained more poems than I’d seen in one book for my set price of $7.99 for a relatively unknown author. After all, this was my first release and I was a (still am, in many ways) relatively unknown on the writing circuit outside of the poetry worlds I visited from time to time. I have some regular please where I am recognized and supported like poetry clubs, shows and regular gigs where I did readings and fell into hosting open mic nights, etc. with accompanying jazz bands and other types of music. However, this was limited to two major U.S. cities so I was hardly breaking the bank or towns via this circuit.

Part of my marketing schtick was that my book cost LESS than two large cups of coffee from Starbucks (venti, as it’s known to the Starbuckians) and in some venues, when you purchased my book, you received a bonus audio track, free of charge or some other small freebie I could drum up for that night. And whaddya know, for a first time effort, it worked! However, as with most new things, there was a sales lull a few months later. So, to stir interest, I decided to set up a couple of giveaways. I gave my book away, FREE of charge on designated days to anyone who wanted to download it and on the first free day, there was tons of downloads.

What did that tell me? It told me that while I didn’t become rich because of my writing, I could carry on with being UTTERLY STOKED and SUPER EXCITED because people wanted to read what I wrote! And I needed freebies or something to show customers that I valued and appreciated their business. Yes, I know that a purchase doesn’t guarantee a read, but in my writerly world, it most certainly filled my need of getting the word out about my book and in encouraging those who were still reluctant to part with their cash, to pick up a copy and give it a go. On top of that excitement, I received some wonderful feedback on my poems from people I’d never met and I made some great online friends who were all about discussing ideas and ideals and all that’s in-between and who still provide encouragement from time to time. It was all worth it!

Another “win” in my opinion, was one that I wanted to scream about, but in a different way than when I realized my passion was being $old was that I lost some friends and family. My former friends and family (wish I had a way to denote former family. Sad that you can’t legally get rid of them, just have to ignore their existence) couldn’t find it in their heart to support my writing dreams because they didn’t agree with the content and my “leanings into gay stuff” (<< eloquent quote, ain’t it??). I was also told that my “homo-ness” and “homo love” wasn’t something that their religion and God could accept. These statements, along with many others that are worse, were said to me on many occasions. Nice “Godly” folks, ain’t they? 

Thankfully, my sanity was retained by the people who truly loved, and still, love me. They reminded me that many were scared of their own emotions or of what thoughts would get stirred and most of all, that you don’t want fake support from the wolf in sheep’s clothing. My head told me that I should rise above and even forgive the comments and reactions, but my heart couldn’t. After all, here I was, doing relatively well according to society’s rules – great job and successful career, higher education club member, yadda, yadda, yadda – but  there I was, being shunned for being myself and writing about my life and about people who needed a voice. Mind you, it wasn’t all “gay leanings” that made things bad. I wrote about the death penalty, abuse and things that go bump in the night, but I guess to them, things like that should stay in the closet, under the bed, stuffed in your pants or roaming around in your head.

So what saved me and made me want to keep writing in spite of the shunning? My loved ones – the ones who truly loved me, and honestly, the wonderful and overwhelming feedback from those who purchased my book! Their love, support and acceptance warmed the cockles of my heart and reminded me that without the book, I may have never met some of them. In my opinion, the reward was absolutely worth it. Besides, it gave me the opportunity to do something that I didn’t realize, needed to be done. I had to accept myself and my own musings. I hadn’t fully accepted myself and the things I think about, when I let the voices of others eff with me and make me question myself and my life. In many ways, direct rejection was the proverbial ripping off of the band-aid that I needed to let the fear, scab and hurt of all that I am and write, heal. Interestingly enough, it inspired me to do better, be better and to just write what I felt without fear of rejection. So in a way, I should thank them for being jackholes – but I won’t. Look, I’m not perfect but I’m trying. 

So to all of you  out there struggling to be the real and true you, to artists who are unsure if they’ll keep creating due to fear of rejection or fear of being true to yourself, remember that you must push on, push through and KEEP ON doing what you love! Why? Because when you do whatever makes your heart sing, I guarantee there are people in the world who will appreciate and love what you do. I guarantee there’ll be people who get you and who would want more. Sometimes the world doesn’t know what is needed until they see it, hear it or experience it.

KEEP CREATING! KEEP WRITING! KEEP SKETCHING! KEEP COMPOSING! KEEP SHINING! The world needs artists, creators, composers, writers, etc. just as much as they need business professionals, career individuals, and for-profit organizations.

For all of you who read what I write, who get me, who feel lost but keep on keeping on, I appreciate and admire you. If no one has said it today, let me say it: YOU ROCK! Don’t ever give up on your dreams or stop doing what makes you excited and happy even when jackholes try to stop you.

Huggles and lots of artistic, feel good creation vibes! 😉
Natasha

My work thus far:

  • Website and samples are available here
  • My book, “Hungover Poet” is available here

Drop me a line and let me know if I can support you in any way. I love making friends and checking out new projects, and art in general!

http://www.reverbnation.com/natasharamsey

Natasha Ramsey DC Performance

As an artist with a full time job that I enjoy and dare say I am good at, it’s hard for me to accept less than (insert whatever the ‘it’ or ‘needed’ item here) from anyone who wants to put my art into a box, or label it, or steal ownership of it in some form. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to consider working with, and being included in artistic ventures that would make some artists jump for joy. But in my case, it made me hesitant. I wish I could fully explain why it didn’t and I’m sure if I tried really hard, I could. Let’s just chalk it up to not needing to earn a living with my art because I have a job that allows me to live comfortably for the most part, and to  not wanting to be associated with, indebted to, or owned by, certain things, people and situations. 

So why share this? Why share now? Especially if I’m saying I’m okay with being me?  Because I think I’ve finally found a couple of good music matches to go with my pieces, because I may be growing up a little, (not a lot because well that is soooo boring and overrated) and because I have less of a burning desire to say, ‘f*ck off’ to people who want to take advantage, or who present one face and then when I take the bait, show the other less beautiful side. 

Granted, my reluctance and desire to keep my dignity had not yielded rewards in terms of heaps o’money and fame but I feel satisfied knowing that my truth, and my dignity is intact. I also feel that by taking the road less traveled at times, the path will eventually pay off. If it doesn’t, it never hurts to have hope, right?  Plus, I’d prefer to die with hope instead of regret.  Obviously I’d prefer not to die at all, but that’s another post for another day…

Have you ever had this kind of heartfelt talk with yourself?  Have you come to realize that while someone may have good intentions, or while someone may love and appreciate you, they can’t, or maybe aren’t the most viable options through which a successful merger or collaboration will be built?  Or that some just don’t know what the hell they’re doing or just want to use you to fulfill their own dreams? 

Look, I know that by having a full time job, I’m helping an organization reach a goal and in some cases, being used by managers, directors, CEOs, etc accomplish THEIR goals and dreams. But since they pay me well to help them, I figure it’s okay. Plus, this “Give and Take” situation subsidizes my art.  So if someone wants to pay me well for art, “shouldn’t it be the same?” you may ask. I don’t think so. I think hierarchy, censorship, etc is okay in certain workplaces but have no place in art. Therefore, an artist should be reasonably free to create as desired and not have to worry about whether he/she will succeed, sell, etc.

I’d like to think that I’m not alone. I’d also like to think that one day, I won’t be judged by competitions and sales dollars, but by my contributions to society based on my job skills but mostly by my art. A girl can dream, can’t she? 

It is Oct 2nd. I can’t believe summer’s gone but I have lots to do starting with our new podcast!

So, when you have 17:02 minutes (yes, and 2 seconds, I added that…), please grab a glass of wine, beer or cocktail, slip your shoes off, find a comfy seat and take a listen to Toni and I chat about randomness, creativity and city life (or rather, sounds).

Oh, and before I forget, there’s a surprise happy ending 😉 – please stay tuned for it. However, if you’re one of those people who prefer dessert first, and won’t eat the entree anyway, although I’d love for you to give us a shot the whole way through, if you must, fast forward to the 14 minute mark for the surprise. Stay well, friends!

Hope you enjoy and share with others who will enjoy too!! Remember this is a test so we’ll be refining in upcoming weeks.

Peace,
Natasha