You must know what you want to do in life, you must decide, for we cannot do everything. Do not think [art] is an easy career. IT is a lifetime’s work; it does not stop here. What matters is that you use whatever you have learned wisely. – Maria Callas
At the office today I was watching Faye Dunaway’s play “Master Class” based on the infamous opera singer Maria Callas (Unfortunately the play is no longer going and it’s not available on DVD – I only had access to it because Faye dropped it off. You’ll have to wait until she makes the movie). And of all the things I’ve heard about being an artist and what it means and advice given and stories told, I would have to say that this play is the only thing that ever shook my core and made the hair on my arms stand in attention.
“This is not an opera! This is LIFE” she says to a student who sings without passion, and sings because someone told him he could and he thought it’d be a great job to make him famous. She goes on to explain to him that because she was living every moment that she sang, she was great. Because he goes through the motions and removes himself from it all, he isn’t.
Why this struck me so was that often people tend to want to take on jobs that they think they should, or that they’re good at or that will get them somewhere. They tend to think of work as work, art as art, and life as everything that happens outside. But life is everything. Life is the act of living. There is no separation from work, art and life.
Later she says that a person should know what they want to do in life and live it. That to scatter the mind with half wants and ideas is a waste – choose something and go after it with life. And, when you subscribe to the theory that there is no separation between life and work then one really ought to only do what they love.
That, however, is often a double trick; figuring out what you love and then being able to do it.
The play deals a lot with the artist, the art, ego and life and intertwines it all so amazingly well. It re-inspired me at a time when I really need it. I’m creating a company and it often scares the bejesus out of me. It feels so internally right but sometimes I don’t trust that feeling, I don’t trust art, I don’t trust the passion, I don’t trust life. But after the play, I think I’m going to choose what I do and how I live.