As I sit here with a hand cramp and potential brain damage from addressing and licking envelope glue for 130 concert mailers, it is brought to my attention that I have no qualms with promoting myself. While this may appear to be completely narcissistic, there can be an altruistic streak in there somewhere. Of course I want as many audience members as possible. Of course I want to at least be able to pay off my expenses and make a bit of profit. But, believe me, I could make much more profit just by working a minimum-wage job for the number of hours I spend planning, practicing, and licking mailing envelopes. Then, you may ask, if not for profit, why do I go through all of this? Yes, I know that money makes the world go round… but it doesn’t necessarily make the arts go round. The arts are about sharing ideas, emotions, melodies, and harmonies with the audience. If you become an artist to be famous or to make vast amounts of money, become a business major because it just isn’t going to happen. Instead, you must be an artist in order to change the lives of others. If I didn’t have an audience, then all of my practicing and preparing would truly be a narcissistic experience.
I learned this talent of networking early in life: at the age of 3. It was at this tender age that I began working at my mother’s flower shop. She put me in charge of the cash register. I learned math by counting back change. I couldn’t reach the buttons on the cash register, so I had to stand on a blue plastic step-stool which, 20 years later, is still in use there. Before even starting kindergarten, I was helping customers make purchases and find what they want, even if they didn’t know what they want. Again, most people would say that I was just trying to make money. But, anyone who knows of our business also knows that we don’t exactly make a lot of money at it. We stay in business to help the customers, which are also our friends. We’ve been with them through prom, dating, wedding, births, and even deaths. My lovely mother taught me that, while we do need to at least make enough money to survive, that is not how you value your life. Instead, value your life by how you affected the lives of others. It’s as true in the world of the arts as it is in the world of small business. So, the big question is: how has your life enriched others today?
And, in the vein of shameless self-promotion: Come to my Americana: The Songs of Aaron Copland concert on Saturday September 11th at 5 PM at St. Luke’s Church in Atascadero, CA. For more information, visit http://www.marissabloom.com.