Thursday, October 9

Ambition = dysfunction?


Armchair psychology suggests that people who want to be famous didn't receive enough attention as kids and are trying to prove something to the world that can't be proven.

Fair enough. There's certainly a germ of truth to that, for me.

I don't really care about being famous, but I do care about making great music and playing it, and I'd love to get to the point where I could draw 50 people to a venue anywhere from here to timbuktu. Or at least in Chicago, LA, NY, etc. I mean, that'd be fun, right?

But at what point is this ambition dysfunctional? And are my ambitions really any different than the quest for fame, or do I just have lower expectations? In other words, am I motivated by needs that cannot ever be filled? Is there a right and a wrong reason to make art?

I have no idea. But I have believed for some time the notion that as an artist, you have two choices:

1. Don't make art and be miserable
2. Make art and be miserable, but less miserable than you would be if you weren't making art.

It certainly seems to be true for me. My drive to make my music bigger/better, etc. never ends. It doesn't matter what I do. There's always a next step.

So when is it healthy, and when is it unhealthy, doing this stuff? Is it just a question of degree? I mean, I'm hardly a deadbeat dad. I'm the breadwinner, and I spend a lot of good time with my son. So certainly by that measure, all is more or less well. It's not like anything's obviously suffering, other than my own sense of contentment. And maybe my non-musical career. :)

Still, though. I sometimes wish I could just be satisfied. I have no idea how to do that!

- Jesse Kates / the Sexy Accident > listen on iTunes