Having completed my reading of the book Born Standing Up by Steve Martin, I am again impressed by the driving passion some people possess that, well, drives them. Having attempted a bit of performing I know it is not a particularly desirable place for me to be.
However, I can be the audience. Not just a member of the audience, but be consciously the audience. I have tried a lot of things in my life, and many of those samples have given me a depth of appreciation for the works of other people. I also read and watch informative video programs. I try to understand not just what someone is presently saying and doing, but how they got to this time and place.
Steve Martin essentially apprenticed as a comedian for ten years. That number ten comes up quite a bit. A lot of performers are out there doing performances for about that long before they are "overnight successes." Even more keep slogging along, sharpening the act, but remain in the minor league.
I have a place in some of those careers. I am the audience. I can appreciate how long it took (and sometimes how many people) to make the music, produce the movie, publish the book. I can watch/listen/read with deeper appreciation knowing that quite a few ten year apprenticeships went into making what I am experiencing.
That supporting actor that made the star look great may have years of dance training behind them. A decade of practice at tumbling or martial arts. A lifetime of cello playing.
With the advent of the Internet I can appreciate even more careers, and even avocations. As I explore the blogosphere I am constantly amazed by the things into which people pour their passions. Quilts (like my daughter's), knitting, tutus. Amazing. Photography. Poems. Fantastic.
Sometimes it is the passionate service of people. I recall a friend, Joni, who was honored one day at the place we worked. She had quietly delivered meals for Meals-On-Wheels for quite some time. None of us knew. She did this honorable task quietly. Just Joni and the grateful people receiving their meals.
So many others, doing so many good things.
I may not yet have paid my dues. I may not yet even have a consuming passion that might inspire others. I can, however, consciously be the audience. I can take the time to really appreciate the work that went into that last thing I enjoyed.
So follow your passion. Be your best. Share it freely, so that the audience can appreciate what you have done. We may not all have what it takes to hammer out a play or concert or television show, but with the Internet we can share.
Many of us do thankless tasks for years. The public does not see us.
Like the technical support making the actors look good, if the job is done well it will go unrecognized. That may be a testimony to the quality of such supporting work, but it does not hurt us to take a moment and look behind the scenes.
When you go to a movie, sit through the credits. Look at the names and titles. All of those people did their job so that you could enjoy a great movie. The same goes for plays, concerts, and just about anything else. Be conscious as The Audience. Do your job well, and appreciate all of the hard work.
Be the best audience you can be.
1 hour ago