Every so often, I get into conversation with someone at my office about the world of music. Recently, some of these conversations have to do with the contract dispute our symphony musicians are engaged in. Not everyone in the Motor City understands or believes that professional musicians should be paid and paid well for what they do. Playing music is exhilarating and joyful and personally rewarding. It’s also very hard work, and requires years and years of effort, time, and expensive training, to achieve the professional quality of a world class symphony player.
The other day I heard myself prefacing my explanation about the contract talks by saying, “I am a musician.”
For a moment, I took myself aback. You see, I rarely refer to myself in that way, although I’ve been studying and playing and performing music for the past 48 years. Sometimes I get paid for doing it, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it’s a blast, and sometimes it’s just drudgery. But lately, I’ve begun to think that all those years of playing music entitle me to claim that title.
Here’s another moniker I rarely adhere to aloud:
Of course I am – if I’m not, what in heavens name am I doing sitting here, when I could be at the movies, or riding my bike, or out to dinner with friends? More and more often, the only way I can make any sense of life in general and my own in particular it to write about it. Whether anyone reads it or not is almost immaterial.
We all like to be recognized by our peers. But sometimes before that can happen, we need to recognize ourselves first. We need to call ourselves by name, and affirm what kind of artist we are.
I am a musician.
I am a writer.
What kind of artist are you?
Visit Jamie Ridler’s blog and accept her invitation to name yourself.