All I want to do is live my life comfortably as a writer.
The term comfort, I find, is incredibly subjective. For a lot of writers, it means being the JK Rowling with a large, billion-dollar franchise and complete financial freedom. For me, however, comfort as a writer means getting to do what I love while having some financial freedom to travel and collaborate with other artists. You know: expand the mind and become self-actualized.
I always wondered if there was a “gray area” nestled between billionaire and starving artist. As a person who has grown up in Los Angeles, you only have these options. Sitting anywhere in the middle puts you in the “middle” –– in other words –– it makes your artistry mediocre.
That word terrifies me. Mediocrity means: “unseen” “worthless”…need I go on? I don’t want to think my goals as a writer are too far-fetched and out of line with my goals as a human being in general.
According to the pyramid, writing rests within every categorizable, psychological need. Writing is a necessity that provides security, friendship, confidence, and creativity. It is what makes me -–– well –– me. And without out it, I am not sure I will be happy. Maslow would agree…to some extent, anyway.
Greta Morgan taught me that you could be self actualized in the middle, barring the label of “mediocre.”
Morgan has appeared in a variety of musical projects: The Hush Sound, Gold Motel, and more recently, Springtime Carnivore. She’s also written commercial jingles, taught courses for beginners in piano and guitar, music theory, and holds songwriting workshops. Like me, Morgan is both a teacher and a creator. Music is the heart of everything she does, as writing is in the heart of everything I do.
The thing I most admire about Morgan is: her ability to continuously create while remaining financially afloat and humble. In countless interviews, she candidly discusses her successful budgeting plan that allows her not only to create and gain access to a multitude of resources, but to remain grounded enough to promote self-growth. What I mean by this is: sometimes, as artists, it’s easy to lose track of spending, and get lost in the stress and strain of financial instability –– which, in a capitalistic country, can easily deter anyone from their autonomy. Morgan has always emphasized that maintaining this balance between the financial and the need to create is what allows her to be who she is –– a musician.
Aside from that, I’ve always admired how Morgan immerses herself in art as a whole. Although she is primarily a musician and a poet, the whole field of creativity seems to inspire her. From paintings to film –– Morgan appears to be a well-rounded individual, curious about the world and all of its people.
Additionally, her mindset is what is likely at the core of her success as an individual in a competitive market. Yes, she has her doubts, her own fears and dreads, and has openly shared that with interviewers. Her humanity and humility on her thoughts and creative process in general is inspiring: “To me, ultimately the goal of any artist should be to express themselves in a way that is honest, vulnerable, and open. Because that’s how everyone’s going to feel less alone. If you read a piece of writing, or experience a piece of art, or someone has an experience that you can relate to or learn from, that’s how we can all avoid loneliness. At least, that’s how it is for me!” (daily.bandcamp.com) This mindset is what I’ve strived for. Being open about who you are, but also having a conscious thought about other creatives like you and what they’ve been through, makes art less of a burden and more of a spiritual journey for the self.
Morgan, above all, has taught me that being a creative doesn’t mean your options exist on a scale where you are famous or broke, and that if you reside in the middle your art is worthless. She’s reminded me that: you have options to be the artist ––the writer–– you were meant to be, and be happy and fulfilled doing it. In fact, being in the middle means accessing the Path to enlightenment, and that’s not such a bad road to be on.