Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why?

It's funny. (Not funny, "ha ha." Funny weird.) In this day and age when money is your marker for success, and all other things seem to fall by the proverbial wayside, why on Earth would we create... Stuff?

Halloween stuff. Art stuff. Music, video, writing stuff. Stuff that "nobody" will ever see, no award given. The Academy. The Louvre. The Grammy Awards. The Nobel. The Pulitzer.

"Nobody," as in nobody "successful or important."

I mean, my dogs hardly count. My husband is smart enough to know he should say he likes my art (thankfully, he really does like it, so I consider myself lucky), but he "doesn't count." (Not in the prop appreciation department, anyway. Sorry sweetheart.)Your spouses and children and family (yes, the ones who turn on all the crazy bright lights on your carefully-lit Halloween display) "don't count." Not in a culture that worships money and beauty above all else.

So why do it?

Say it with me: L-O-V-E. Love.

When someone stood up at my friend Alan's memorial and mentioned that when you're a certain age, after you've been playing out a while, and you're not where you planned to be by now (age 35-40-45-50), that you have to decide why it is you still do it. Why? It's frustrating to be in the room with a bunch of drunks who are bellowing over your solo about the latest episode of Lost or whatever. The solo you and your buds practiced in a loop so the transition would be flawless when you played it live. You do it because you love it, because it would be like amputating a limb if you stopped doing it.

It's frustrating when what you write probably will never get to the top of that editor's pile of horrid dreck that you know damn well you are head and shoulders above.

It's frustrating when you go all out for Halloween and you only get a few TOTs, one of whom asks only why The Grumble has braces, instead of marvels at all the time you spent to make this prop for them. It's frustrating when they look at the handmade crepe paper pumpkin (full of yummy candy) you dropped in their freaking pillowcase ('cause they don't bother with actual candy buckets anymore, or spend more than ten seconds on their costumes) like you are a freak who just ripped them off. You bastard!

Ye Gods and little fishes! Why do we do it? Love. It is THE answer.

It's not like we're doing it for the money, unless we have a masochistic urge to continuously watch money flow out of our checking account.

Nope. It's because we love it.

Love is the reason we are in the garage in 100 degree heat, slaving away over an equally hot prop. Love is the reason we have hot glue scars all over our hands. It's why we drive two and a half hours to a make and take, once a month, even when gas prices are rising again. It's why we stay up until midnight on a "school night" at the beginning of October, then zombie walk through our work the next day. It's why some of us do it for our church or another charity, for free. Or why we tell our spouses never to schedule a vacation after August 15th. It's why we endure the incredulous looks when people realize we work all year for that one night: October 31.

And because of the nature of what we do, we don't have the option (and wouldn't want to, anyway)of going on strike for more pay and better medical, like some Hollywood types I could name.

Thanks to the magic of the 'net, we blog about it and find other deranged souls like ourselves. Brought together by monster mud, hot glue, and an unnatural affiliation for carpet adhesive, we share the love with each other all year, so when the condemning looks come and the neighbor accuses you of being a Satanist, you can smile and know that a mood boost is just a few steps and an Internet connection away.

We create memories for kids whose parents are too stressed and busy trying to survive to do this kind of crafting themselves. We create art, and harmless terror. Adrenaline surges and admiration. Visceral feelings, uncontrollable by our modern, logical minds.

Sounds just like love to me.

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