My Speech for Don’t Short Change the Muse

William S. Burroughs once said, “Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to short change the muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality anymore than you can fake a good meal”.

He meant to always be truthful in what you write and what you do, dirty or clean, as long as it is you and yours. I also take it to mean, “don’t cut corners when it comes to what you love”.

In any art form the artist needs to continue to grow. As every artist knows nothing is more detrimental than complacency and routine. As soon as you are comfortable— change. As soon as you are popular— give them a left hook. That is our exercise as artists. We need to keep learning no matter how old we get. The grey matter in our head is plastic and expands, but only with use. Practice does make perfect, and as soon as you are perfect it’s time to cut that shit up and take a risk.

This event was a very last-minute thing for me, setting up the auction and the fundraiser, I’m amazed it has actually all come together in so little time. I had not expected to be accepted into the  Atheneum program at the Attic and was not prepared with the tuition. Like most of us I survive by tooth and nail and by the skin of my teeth, but when I received the acceptance letter something inside me said, don’t say no because of the money.

The Atheneum is about building a community of writers, it is about creating a circle of learning. I have had my share of community involvement through organizations like Write Around Portland and Playwrite Inc., In both organizations I have volunteered my time to help others, all through writing and performance. This is something I have always enjoyed and for no other reason other than that I think Art Saves Lives, I believe art can touch and change people.

This is the first time I have ever asked for money for myself and this is also the first time I have ever built a show, and the first time I have ever showcased any of my work, and in the very short time I have learned a great deal about community. The reason I followed through with this event is because of all the names you see in the program. I was amazed at the sheer excitement, joy and support my friends have offered in putting this together, and that support and joy extended out and I had never known so many people had wanted to see me succeed in my dreams, and I am honored.

There is not one artist in the history of art that did not have some network. Even the most solitary and loneliest of us need support even Van Gogh had his brother Theo. Our society, our media projects the image that certain famous artists and writers were loners and climbed to the top on their own, but this is a falsehood, everyone has held the hand of at least one person. And that is what we are doing here tonight, holding hands, holding my hands as I ask you for help in making my dream of becoming a great American novelist come true, so that in turn I can hold the hand of another.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of you that have helped pull this together and to those of you for being here.

Thank you to Bar Carlo for the space, be sure to by yourself some drinks and tip the bartender. Also don’t forget to check out the silent auction. The show is about to begin!

The show began…and ended beautifully.

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