The Work Leads To The Work

Listening to an old EP by The National (Cherry Tree 2004) that sounds just like the old Eels. I have never heard it before. The title song begs for honesty.

Woody Allen is doing a TV series for Amazon. His first. He says he has no ideas, and no clue where to begin. He fears Amazon will regret hiring him. He is in the gate like all artists waiting for the gun to fire. When the trigger is pulled he will fill the screen with fearless brilliance.

I know that gate. My name is printed on the visitors badge with my first name much bigger than my last. Everyone wants you to be amazing. Everyone is there for you. I am scratching at the dirt. You can see my breath. I do know where to begin. I have so many ideas my head is going to burst, but I need to leave everything at the gate. Need to begin the race with my head completely empty. Want to dream freely as I take each stride. Want to dust history with new invention. When I ask about luck I am told, "it is not luck you are in." Want to see the racing forms waving as I round the corner. I am good with the odds.

When I first hit the streets of NY after assisting Annie Leibovitz for a year, I had a 16 x 20 portfolio with pictures of Annie working. My first appointment was with Michael Shnayerson who was editor of Avenue Magazine. Avenue was a very high brow publication delivered by limo to people on the upper east side with net worth north of a million bucks. They hired so many of my heroes - Duane Michals, Arnold Newman, Ralph Gibson, etc… When Michael looked at my portfolio, he said, “I love your work. I will put you on our try to use list.” I didn’t hesitate, “Don’t put me on your try to use list. I am not leaving your office until you give me an assignment.” So he did, and we worked together every month for years.

I never want to be on anyone’s try to use list. It is no man’s land. It is never about the money. Money always takes care of itself. It is always about the work. The work leads to the work. The work leads to the work. The work ALWAYS leads to the work.

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