For more than two decades of scraping my nose to the
grindstone; committing my talents, my mind, and my
intellect to learning how to communicate with the
language Art, I have discovered my painting,
photography, writing, playing music, et al., have been protracted acts of devotion & love. I have come to feel that it is not commercial success or legions of adoring fans that will determine how my art exists in
the world, but the Experiences had in the process
itself. The many small, intimate performances only a
handful of loyal will ever remember first hand. Thanks
to magnetic tape and photographs, I will always be able to refer to these scrapbook–happenings, and therefore to the truly meaningful people and places that make up the seminal chapters of my life.
Why My Musical Genius
Overlooked Inside or Outside of the Entertainment
What's it all about Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about
when you sort it out
Are we meant to take more than we give?...
As sure as I believe
there's a heaven above
I know there's something much more
Something even non-believers
can believe in...
Until you find the love you've missed
When you walk, let your heart lead the way
And you'll find love any day
December 4, 1999...Watching television early this morning, I saw a news story about Madelyn Kahn, the beautiful, wildly funny actress who starred in YOUNG FRANKENSTIEN and won an academy award for her work in PAPER MOON. I had always been a big fan, but hadn't seen her perform in quite a few years. I could tell right away, from the tenor of the reporter's voice, and the mood of the piece, that the news would not be good; and it wasn't. She had died. And I knew what I was going to hear. It was ovarian cancer, which, they said, she had been “battling” for the last few years. It seems the human spirit most always wants to do battle with the dreaded disease. And more often than not, it loses the fight. Madelyn Kahn lost the fight, and much too young. She was incredibly funny, talented, and lovely in body and spirit. And as I watched the film clips of her in brighter times, looking ebullient and laughing, I thought about we artists, and what it is our lives and art mean in the bigger picture.
I think it imperative that all artists, no matter how talented, should experience genuine success on some level. The Kahn story, and hundreds like it, are reminders of how fleeting this dream of life is, and how tragic it is when someone is taken from us before they've lived it fully. I know they say that Life Is Unfair, but that doesn't make it any easier to take! Each and every life is one of God's miraculous creations, but being an artist myself, I am most sensitive to the plight of the creative spirit taken before it's time. The thing that makes it so urgent; so imperative that I achieve the success I feel I deserve as an artist, is when I pick up the art magazines which I read devotedly. You see, these magazines all carry art–world obituaries. In most every issue published, there are (often multiple) listings detailing the lives and deaths of committed, talented and devoted artisans who are taken from us––in the midst of their creativity and passion––well before they reach even thirty years old! It absolutely floors me. I read of these lives, in single paragraphs, once filled with enormous talent and promise, and become frozen in silence thinking about the tragedy of a person who devotes their life and energy to contributing such beauty and thought–provoking ideas to our culture, and is struck down by some heinous disease of the physical body. “Mary, sculptor and painter, who won awards and acclaim for her creations, and was in the midst of working on a major retrospective of her art, has died of brain cancer at the age of twenty-five.” I see these stories all the time! I am always physically stunned by them. What is it all about??? Happenings like these fill me with such an intense desire to get my work out there, and to do everything I can to share my art with as many people as I possibly can, and to do it so well, and with such passion and committment, that accomplishment and success, whether financial or spiritual or critical, would seem to have to follow. I want to succeed for the shear pleasure of it. To accept it gracefully, and then share it with others and pass it on to my budding and beautiful son. And to accept it and cherish it in honor of the multitudes of wonderfully talented art-makers who are stolen from us before they've had their chance to experience the profound elation and enlightenment of creating a full, complete body of work, and leave it behind as a living legacy to their family, friends, and fellow artists. I felt for many years that art should be made for art's sake. That it was really only the creating of the work that mattered. My attitude is changing rapidly. “Making it” means something different to every artist, and it should be a very personal aspiration. But I am truly beginning to feel that each of us, no matter what kind of work we do, and especially the artists among us, should indeed strive to make it––whatever it is. Life is too damn fleeting to drift through. I believe artists were put here to grab and reach and stretch for the stars, and to follow their dreams like bloodhounds, and never give up. We owe it to ourselves, our work, our loved ones, and we owe it to those blessed artistic souls who wanted it so much, but were denied it due to circumstances beyond their control.... Rest in peace, Madelyn. I will rise, and take up your torch.
H. David & B. Bacharach
(B i o l i n k)