Today, the air we breathe is a complex mixture. It is light with the music of Michael Jackson and yet heavy with sadness for the passing of his creative spirit.
Whatever paths he took later in life, there is no denying that his work is deeply embedded in ourselves and our culture. His accomplishments are many. By the time he was 40 he had recorded albums that went platinum, he’d won umpteen awards (which actually put him in the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Successful Entertainer of All Time), raised millions for charities and was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame not once but twice. And then his last album was deemed a flop because it didn’t sell 40 million copies as Thriller had. He had reached for, and gotten, the stars, then was asked to do it all over again.
We expect so much from the creativity spirits around us and the creativity within us. As Joni Mitchell once lamented, no one ever asked Van Gogh to paint A Starry Night again, yet we expect certain artists such as musicians, to revisit songs that mean something to us. We are essentially asking them to remain the same while at the same time asking them to perform at their peak again and again.
But there can be no peaks without valleys; without that time to store, process and refine our creativity. That allows us the ability to release it into the universe with all our might. Even at his most troubled, even when his critics were at their worst, Jackson never just phoned a performance in. And he was on the verge of coming out of a valley to put himself on the line creatively all over again. I admire him and artists like him who are fearless, who believe the only performance that really matters is the one that goes all the way. It’s something to strive for each time our passions drive us to perform on our own stages.
Powered by Facebook Comments