I was cruising along in my car, doing a very old guy kind of thing. I was listening to the radio.
Yeah, radio still exists! And you can still find some very interesting things on it.
That day it was an obscure punk band from the ’80s. “Obscure” might be overselling them. Black Citron was a Swiss band that was only together for a couple years. Their discography, if I heard correctly, amounts to a single release. And it was self-published, to borrow the phrase from writing. All of this was part of an episode of the “TED Talk” program. The speaker was Alexis Charpentier (his full TED Talk is HERE. If you haven’t discovered this amazing collection/community I urge you to explore. Like right now. Open a new browser window, look for any subject of interest, and explore. Come back here later)
Charpentier specializes in finding “lost” music. Artists who created something but who never gained fame and fortune. There is an unfortunate and incorrect assumption that such art has no worth. I reject that idea utterly. The list of creatives who were acclaimed in their time and largely or completely forgotten is enormous. All of us face the reality that our work is statistically unlikely to make us right. There are more than a few voices that tell us that if we’re not making money/getting famous at this we should quit.
Sorry, I will disagree. Create because creating is part of you. Create with the hope that an audience will discover you, but be at peace that it may never come, or may come much later than you think. Check this list out:
- Henry David Thoreau
- Franz Kafka
- Emily Dickinson
- Sylvia Plath
- Zora Neale Hurston
- Steig Larrson
- Marina Keegan
All of them are authors who did not achieve much acclaim until after they were dead. I included Marina Keegan especially on this list because I’d never heard of her before. An essay titled “The Opposite of Loneliness” is what finally put her writing on the radar. Check it out HERE.
All of this to say, just create. Share it. I know that’s really, really hard for some, but I want to encourage you to try. Who knows, perhaps years from now someone will tap at your door to ask if you’re THE person whose work they love so much. Perhaps you’ll inspire someone, years and years from now, who stumbles onto something you created. And that should be enough.
I’ve never been a punk fan, but some of the genre is compelling. There’s something that catches me in “Femmes”. Take a listen for yourself.
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