Catching up on old New Yorkers as I’ve been recuperating from the killer flu of 2007, and reading a piece by the comedian Steve Martin (Oct. 29, 2007; Personal History: In the Birdcage)that looks back to his early days as a comedian. A couple interesting quotes from it, one on the nature of inspiration and how to fill the gaps in between, writing to his girlfriend:
“‘I have decided my act is going to go avant -garde. It is the only way to do what I want.’
I’m not sure what I meant, but I wanted to use the lingo, and it was seductive to make these pronouncements. Through the years, I have learned there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.”
And at the end, recounting a recent visit to Knott’s Berry Farm, where the young Martin first honed his craft:
“Driving home along the Santa Ana Freeway, I was unnerved. I asked myself what it was that had made this place capable of inducing in me such a powerful nostalgic shock. The answer floated clearly into my mind, as though I had asked the question of a Magic 8-ball: I wanted to be there again – if only for a day – indulging in high spirits and high jinks, before I turned professional, before comedy became serious.”
I’ve often wondered how it might feel, when I “make it” in my own estimation, and others. And I have to say, I enjoy the creative process NOW, (in the case of my personal work) without anyone else’s expectations but my own (difficult enough am I to please), and not feeling obligated by a responsibility to others (agent/gallerist), or pre-suppose work that I think the market will value, but doing it purely for myself. Before comedy becomes serious.