I'm so excited to announce we will be publishing the podcast on a weekly basis instead of every other week! I've had so many great conversations w/amazing people, and I'm happy they're going to get out to all of you even quicker now. Here's where to listen:
Who Gets to Decide What Is Enough?
I started listening to the podcast "Dead Eyes" recently. I'd been hearing about it for a while, and now I haven't listened to any other show since I started. It's really good. The host is a character actor named Connor Ratliff who was fired from the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers." He only had a small part in one episode, but the story he was told about his firing was that the director of the episode, Tom Hanks, said Connor had "dead eyes." This feedback haunted him for years and almost caused him to quit acting forever.
In the podcast, he talks about what happened to him after being fired and he also tries to figure out what exactly *did* happen to cause him to lose the "Band of Brothers" job (Spoiler: He does get a chance to talk with Tom Hanks on the show eventually, but I haven't gotten to that episode yet). He also chats with other actors about their experiences of rejection and failure in the business and finds out he definitely is not alone.
One of the early episodes of "Dead Eyes" (one with an unfortunate title) features the actor Tony Hale. I appreciated their conversation about fame what that actually means. Hale says regardless of the level of success someone reaches: "I'm sure there's still that part in all of us that think, Oh, but if I do this, it will be enough. It will be all okay. And the fact is: it's never enough. It's never enough. And it's a constant lesson to all of us to be like, 'Hey, let's wake up to what's around us. Let's practice being present.'
He tells host Connor: "You and I, we're the most known we're ever going to be, and ever going to need if people who are close to us know us and love us. That's the most known we're ever going to need. You know, it's just all of those kind of daily lessons we have--I have to wake up to."
I love the idea that our most important fan base is the people who know and love us. It can be hard to hang onto this concept, though, when there is so much pressure to perform and strive and keep getting more and more status. But when does it end?
Later in their discussion, Connor tells Tony that he interviewed the actor who replaced him in "Band of Brothers" and compared their career trajectories. In response, Hale says: "Even if that guy went on to win five Oscars and became whatever, that does not equate joy. That does not equate real living. If anything, these lessons where you grab onto that self-awareness and really see things around you, and really try to wake yourself up and see each other and love each other ... that's where the joy is. That's the equation."
I loved hearing this reminder to examine what success actually means to us. When we feel like we will never measure up or be good enough, it can be debilitating. And it definitely is joyless. Money and fame are great, but they may not give us what we actually need as humans. What do you think?
The same colors on shiny magazine paper and worn by a stunning model instantly gave validity to my amateur crayon scratchings. Nothing had changed about my mandala, but now people liked it.
Today's post is borrowed from the blog on my professional therapy website from a few years ago:
"Six years ago I was making art with a group of people. Toward the end of our time together one of them asked how I'd decided on the colors for my mandala. I said I didn't know and it was pretty much random. The inquirer was skeptical of my choices: 'Do those colors really go together?' When she said this I felt self-doubt and then justified it by remembering I've never really identified as a visual artist, anyway. So there.
"Then the person next to me said, 'Wait a minute,' and pulled out a catalog she'd brought with her. She turned to a page with a colorful shawl displayed on it. The shawl for sale contained the same 'random' color scheme as my mandala. Everyone at the table was now impressed by my artistic brilliance.
"What happened there? The same colors on shiny magazine paper and worn by a stunning model instantly gave validity to my amateur crayon scratchings. Nothing had changed about my mandala, but now people liked it."
In the book "The Artist's Way," author Julia Cameron talks about how we can't control how others respond to our creative work. Styles come into fashion, then out of fashion, then back into fashion again. This is why it's impossible to judge the worth of our work by what other people think about it.
I'm thrilled to be starting the Beyond Artist's Block podcast to help myself and others remember that our worth comes from doing the work (or not!) and not what people think of it. I can't wait to share more soon. Full episodes set to begin in September!
What's in a Name?
Naming things is hard. A business or podcast name needs to be catchy but not cliché, descriptive but not too obvious, and unique without being too obscure.
Even for someone who used to write headlines every day for a living, naming things is tough.
When I was trying to think of a name for this podcast, ideas would pop in my mind right before falling asleep, of course, or in the shower sans phone or paper. I tried to hold the names in my mind as long as I could, though, and gradually came up with a list.
I now present to you the evolution of this podcast's name:
Yes! I had a great feeling about this name, but I knew it had to pass the Google test. I tentatively entered it into the search bar and anticipated the familiar disappointment of realizing my bright idea was actually super obvious. But to my pleasant surprise, there didn't seem to be anything else out in the cyberverse with that name. And, so, BAB was born!
What does Beyond Artist's Block mean? The "artist's block" part is self-explanatory (thank goodness!), but I didn't want to just leave it at that. I wanted to instill some hope into the name of the podcast — we won't just be talking about managing artist's block. I wanted listeners to imagine what it might be like to move beyond the limits we and society impose on artists of all stripes. And my goal with the podcast is to connect listeners to practitioners — therapists and others — who get what it's like to face creative challenges. I feel BAB encompasses all of this. And the "beyond" part also gives the podcast some room to breathe and grow — who knows where we'll go from here?
I'm pleased to announce our first full episodes should launch in September. Be sure to like and subscribe, and we'll see you very soon!
I don't draw. I mean, technically I can draw, but I don't feel like I have a much skill at it. My talent lies more in words and sound — in undergrad I focused on poetry because I knew it would probably be the only time in life when I could study whatever I wanted, and rhythm and rhyme were it.
I took an art class from a friend a few years ago and created the images above. The teacher seemed surprised at my skill level (methinks her standards were low!). She also objected when I complained that people only tend to apply the label "artist" to those in the visual arts. She pointed out that in schools most of the funding (if there is funding for art) goes toward band, theater, or choir, not visual art. She wasn't wrong.
Although I don't consider myself a visual artist I am creative, and I think that creative spirit can be expressed in many ways, including everything we think of when we hear the word "artist," as well as creativity in business and home life.
What do you think of when you hear the word "artist?" Maybe people like Van Gogh or Beyoncé? And who among us gets to decide who gets the rights and privileges to call themselves artists? I think culture has a lot to do with it (In particular, I'm thinking of Black clothing designers who have their ideas used without credit given). I also have a feeling I will be returning to this topic again.
I feel fortunate to have been able to experiment with any creative medium I like. And I also have had the privilege to choose not to care if someone thinks I'm not a "real artist." Not everyone has this same freedom, though, especially if their main livelihood comes from art. What are your thoughts and experiences?
How I Chose Our Theme Music
One of my favorite things about starting a podcast is deciding on the best theme music. If I'm being honest, it may actually be my favorite thing. When I imagine alternate lives, discovering background music for films or TV shows is pretty high up in my list of jobs I would want to have.
For Beyond Artist's Block, I knew I wanted something fun but not cheesy. Uplifting but not over the top. Catchy but not cloying. I went to find royalty free music and surveyed my options. There were a LOT of "corporate" tunes and workout jams. I finally got my search fine-tuned to some combination of jazz and whimsy, and I found the appropriately titled song: Happy Jazz. Here's what its creator, Krazy-Dragon, has to say about it: "Calm, relaxing music symbolizing good mood, romance, tranquillity and peacefulness." Check it out and see if you agree:
(I notice they have another song titled, Cooking Jazz, which I am also down with!)
P.S. It's been two days since I announced the creation of this podcast, and so far the response has been overwhelming, in a great way! We already have 8 interviews scheduled and almost two dozen more pending. We're looking at an October launch for the first full episodes, and I can't wait to share all of these awesome folks with you. If you think you'd be a good fit for the podcast and are interested in being interviewed, please feel free to contact us here.
Rachel Moore, LMFT, (she/her) is a singer, musician, writer, and the host of the Beyond Artist's Block podcast. She is also a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist based in San Diego, California. Rachel is certified in EMDR and trained in Brainspotting, and she focuses on working with creative clients, including writers, artists, and musicians.