In a recent arts newsletter I received, the writer referred to a podcast featuring Anne Lamott and said that she referred to artists as “narcissistic loners.” I love Anne Lamott, but if she really did refer to artists as “narcissistic loners” she’s wrong about the narcissistic part (for most of us, anyway). There’s nothing narcissistic about trying to cut out the noise of other voices in order to center and align oneself in order to hear God better. I recommend Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” THAT is why so many artists spend so much time alone. One cannot connect to God’s Creative Conduit in a crowd; it takes solitude and a listening posture to do that.
Artistic community is so important, but we can’t get our important work done in that crowded space. The community is where we connect with other people who are like us and understand us, and where we can share what we are doing with people who do understand us (because the rest of the world doesn’t). But the important work only happens when we are alone. We each have work to do that only we can do, and that only happens when we get quiet and alone with the CREATOR.
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