In this series, we’ve talked a lot about what art is, how it impacts, explains, and supports life. But there’s an aspect we haven’t touched on yet; namely, that art is sacrifice.
It’s the name of the game. In order to make great art, we as creators have to be willing to give something (or many somethings) up. I’ve heard both Bryan Allain and Jon Acuff talk about a “Like List.” As in a list we compile detailing the things we truly love versus the the things we merely like. Anything on the like list, if it interferes with the creation of our art, must be jettisoned. This is, I suppose, another aspect of “killing our darlings” (which we touched on last week).
The balance to this, which I’m learning, is that family (and thus family time) isn’t something that belongs on the “Like List.” If it’s there for you (as it was for me), I strongly suggest you reevaluate your priorities. Stephen King, one of the most successful writers ever, put it this way: “Life is not a support system for art, it’s the other way around.” And that was a hard fought lesson for him, as he–at the top of his game–almost lost his family.
No dream, no passion, no calling, is ever worth that. Don’t you ever dare sacrifice truly living for art’s sake. Chances are, your kids (if you have any) won’t understand you constantly giving up time with them to “pursue your dream.”
That, my friends, is the delicate balance of art: jettisoning that which keeps us from pursuing our passions, while simultaneously sacrificing the dream if it interferes with our closest relationships.
Take heart: it can be done. There is a path through these two kinds of sacrifice. It’s along the flat of a blade, but it’s there. Finding it isn’t easy, but is so worth the energy and effort expended.
God bless you as you pursue your art, and your relationships.
What have you sacrificed in pursuit of your dreams? Where have you found your balance?