11 June 2006

A time of voice

I have never been a Bob Dylan fan. I have had very smart friends with great taste that revered the man, but for some reason I never really took the time to listen. This evening for completely random reasons I watched a two disc video chronicle of Dylan entitled “No Direction Home.” I am fascinated. The man at 20 years of age wrote such revealing and compelling words. Dylan’s true years of genius were relatively short lived. By his own admission, he has a much harder time writing material, much less material of social relevance.

I was raised deep in the art world, well, at least as close as you can come in the Midwest. I spent childhood afternoons in the basement of the Neslon Atkins Museum of Art. My grandmother worked there. Several of my aunts and uncles were schooled at the Kansas City Art Institute right across the street. Yet I never really understood art. I had nothing that I thought was relevant to say. Or maybe I was lacking confidence in my voice. That is primarily why I became a designer, because I had visual talent, but no real voice.

Some people are lucky enough (or some would say cursed) with a lifetime of voice. They live to reflect, project, comment and interpret. For me, it was in my thirties before I really felt like I either had something to say, or deserved to be heard. I am not sure if these are mutually exclusive. I now get it. I can contribute. I have the tools, the experience and the insight to be worthy of my voice. And, I am grateful that my voice was not in my twenties. I am grateful that I have a voice a bit later in life.

Many of my high school pals have peaked. They have had their day, made their money and are coasting. In a strange way I feel fortunate that I have my most productive years to look forward to.