Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Growth


I’m not a huge fan of the Oscars. I do appreciate artists, those who work and hone their craft, and I am always glad to see that celebrated, as well as disappointed when it isn’t. This is not going to be a long rant on the state of Hollywood, as I know absolutely nothing of the state of Hollywood. But what I have noticed since the Oscars is frequent comments, namely on Twitter, that make me believe that we as a society have failed to grasp the  notion of growth.
When Anne Hathaway won, I saw over and over again how an Oscar just went to the girl from Ella Enchanted or The Princess Diaries and isn’t that appalling and horrendous. No, actually, it’s what should happen.

I don’t know where we got this notion that a person – and their talent – is stagnant or frozen. Artists, whether they are actors, painters, musicians, or writers, have to start somewhere. And I don’t believe they are born incredibly talented yet remain undiscovered until finally bursting out into the world fully-formed and incredible. Yes, some do. But most begin with a passion for something. They work hard at this passion, and over the years, they improve.

This is how it should be.

So no, I’m not surprised to see someone grow and improve in their craft. I’m impressed. No, I would not be surprised if someone wrote fill-in-the-blank-with-the-genre-you-think-is-trash novels and then later went on to pen a book that won the National Book Award. That is what growth is.

True artists work hard at their craft, seeking to improve it with each new work. Some of them start out way beyond where the rest of us will ever be. But that doesn’t mean they should stay there. I don’t care where an artist begins – what I want to see is their journey, the way they learn from each work they produce and go on to make it better, more meaningful, different.

I want to see passion translated into hard work and success, whatever that looks like.

I want to see someone become a master of their craft by meeting each day with the idea that they will give a little more of themself and be a little better than they were the day before.
I want to see Ella Enchanted go on to win an Oscar.