I’ve read a couple of books recently. One was The Middle Finger Project by Ash Ambirge. The other was How to be an Artist by Jerry Saltz. Both spoke about the way, or ways, to achieve a life as a creative.
Ash Ambirge had a challenging start but fought her way to life as a writer. One of her pieces of wisdom is that, in order to achieve goals in a creative field, one needs to be ‘radically self-reliant’.
Jerry Saltz is an art critic who has been immersed in the US art world for many years. One of his fundamental guidelines is that, in order to achieve goals in a creative field, one needs to be ‘radically vulnerable’.
Radically self-reliant? Radically vulnerable? My first reaction was to be amused at such disparate advice. How differently people in similar fields can think! As I digested the thoughts further, however, it became clear to me that self-reliance and vulnerability are two sides of the same coin.
In order to be willing to submit to, or to creatively survive, vulnerability one needs to be self-reliant. The presence of some degree of self-reliance allows one to ‘put it out there’ and be vulnerable. The two go hand-in-hand. Funny that two extremely different authors should each come up with half of the neat equation.
And the common addition of the word ‘radical’ adds the passion, excitement, determination and out-of-the-ordinariness that carving out any sort of creative, or any other, life asks of us.
Radically self-reliant. Radically vulnerable. We don’t have to choose. Be both.