Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Risk

sunflower drawing by Lori Levin "Ode to Van Gogh"
sketch in moleskine

A few nights ago I spent a lovely evening sitting by a fire, getting to know some of Joel's friends. They sweetly brought flowers from their garden and I decided to draw my favorite. The image started to be light and delicate but as my mind raced it morphed into some sort of dark and intense drawing. I realized I was thinking about a conversation we had about my art and decision to run my own business which brought my thoughts to the topic of risk.

A term that has always amused me is that of "calculated risk". Is there such a thing? Try as we might we cannot truly plan out every possible outcome for each decision being made. Sure, we can guess but life has a way of throwing something in that is totally unexpected. I mean, did anyone ever envision a group of radicals flying jets into the Twin Towers? Obviously not. So plan all you want but risk taking is not a science and it doesn't always add up.

Risk takers come in two categories. Some, like Richard Branson, take risks with complete abandon and find it to be joyous. Others like me, cannot live without risk taking but somehow do it kicking and screaming the whole way. We know that any great action comes with a good deal of risk so we do it. However, the process is not necessarily exhilarating to us, unlike Branson who doesn't seem satisfied unless his life is on the line.

What I wonder is can there be a happy medium? Can someone like me, who wants to put herself out there a little, learn to do it without so much anxiety? Can I learn to enjoy the process without becoming feeling the need to risk life and limb for a thrill?

I write this because I had not been able to work much the past few weeks due to a concussion I sustained. It left me unable to look at a computer screen or focus for any length of time. The plans I had for all my outdoor shows seemed to go out the window. Anxiety set in as there was nothing I could do to change my situation. I had to be patient. It left me wondering why I had chosen such a difficult career. Being a one man band ain't easy folks. If I'm not playing there is no music. After much thought I realized I could never be happy doing it any other way. The weekly paycheck never made me feel anything but safe and that wasn't enough for me. Let's face it, Van Gogh kept took the risk and kept painting despite the lack of sales. So, I'll be at those shows playing my tune. It may be a little off key but I'll be there and people will listen. That's just how it is meant to be. Maybe I'm not too different than Branson after all. Oh right, I'm not filthy rich. Better luck next time.