Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Artists & Krit-Icks

My Blog entry today is a slightly edited letter I sent to a wonderful actress who got creamed in a review by her local paper. It really hurt her and she didn't deserve it. The review was, at the very least, rude. I hate it when critics, who can't accomplish much other than spewing opinion, publicly redicule those who are at least trying. I think artists deserve better. If you don't like something, ignore it. But for Pete's sake, don't strangle someone's spirit in public:

A few years ago, a critic reviewed by album, Dreams of Fire. I recorded it with a 61 piece symphony and worked my butt off on it for almost a year. The album was getting rave reviews all over the country ... and then this reviewer got hold of it and gave Dreams of Fire a horrible, personal, scathing review in print right here in my own hometown.

It rattled me. For a minute. A couple years later, a friend of mine in Ireland released a cassette of his songs and sent them to his local paper. The critic burned, tarred and feathered my friend's little cassette release of his songs. The review was so bad his mother didn't leave her house for almost 2 weeks. After my friend called me, in tears, to tell me he was quitting his music, my heart broke for him. Because I knew exactly how he felt.

So I wrote my friend a song, called WoodSongs. a song of victory of an artist's will over critics, became the title of my next album, which was turned into a book, that I turned into a radio show, that became a national tour, podcast, and now a national TV series on PBS. So much for the critic.

I write all of this because I think all of you, whether amateur songwriter, living room couch performer or professional, are an incredibly talented, brilliant and beautiful in sprit. Remember, the critic creates nothing. The artist remains the source of inspiration ... even if it means getting off your bloodied knees all the time. Some words for all artists to consider:

"Fear not the voice of the critic, for no man ever erected a statue in honour of a critic"- Finnish Composer

"It is much easier to tare down than to build, it takes less talent to scoff than to create, it is the essense of laziness to be critical ... than to be correct" - Benjamin DeSreali

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

"Twenty years from now you will be more dissappointed by the things you DIDN'T do than by the ones you DID. So throw off your anchors. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore . . Dream . . . Discover." - Mark Twain

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." - Albert Schweitzer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your story Artists and Krit-icks is so meaningful to me:
My passion is old buildings. Saving, restoring, preserving old handmade buildings. Log cabins,oak mortice and tenon/timberframe buildings. Most,or all in fact, saved from the wrecking ball, with one of my projects featured in a national publication.
Restoring an early 19th century structure IN a small town, IN a designated Natl. Reg. Historic District still drew criticism from a neighbor. He complained to the city officials, and their response entailed taking a chain saw,and cutting up ALL of my 170 yr.old replacement timbers - 26'long
hand-hewn beams, pit-sawn timbers,
hand cut limestone steps. The police chief threatened to throw me in jail, if I complained. It has been two years since this happened, and it is still inconcievable to me. I lived there for over 20 years, raised 2 college educated daughters, provided homes for their festivals, homes tours, etc. I am angry and heartbroken. That was my home, my community. Or was. The concentric circles sourrounding this have been devestating - emotionally, financially. Bullies in high places have an unreal sense of entitlement.
You see, old houses are a spiritual experience for me. I see what an engineering feat they are, and feel so much respect for the generations before me. Preserving them is my way of contributing and giving back. I feel so misunderstood.
Until I read Artists and Krit-icks once again. Thank You. Krista