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Busking in Cyberland - Feed the Artist

Or, in the words of Pink Floyd - and Motley Crue - "Is Anybody Out There?"

Singing for your supper is a common theme in fantasy stories about bards; it might be cliché, but for anyone trying to make a living, or even to supplement one, on their creative endeavors, it is literally true. It’s not as simple to get cash from your paypal account to buy groceries as it is to sing and then sit down at the table and have the innkeeper bring your already-cooked food, but it’s the same principle.

But the cash is symbolic of more than just one’s daily bread. It is a tangible way that an audience lets someone know that their life’s work--the current performance, the carefully-crafted song, the story that they labored over, the hours spent on a painting or recording--was enjoyed. That your hard work, both in the moment and the years that led up to that moment, was appreciated.

One of the joys of live busking is that you get feedback. You see children’s eyes follow you as their parents walk by, you see people’s expressions change as they listen, and their feet tap in time to--you. You see the people who could have taken this train, or that one, but who lean against a wall or sit on a bench to listen to a few songs before continuing their day. Sometimes you even get applause. Other times you simply see that someone who arrived looking stressed and upset is smiling as they get on their train. (Of course, you also get people who think folk music is deadly boring, but hey, not even Mozart or Elvis could please everyone.)

And all of it, all of the positive feedback, subtle and overt, cash or applause or just a smile—all of the feedback feeds the artist’s soul.

Cyberland is different. You put out your work and then wait. It’s hard to tell if people are even reading your words. They could be smiling, even laughing out loud, or reading your story aloud to a friend or child, but unless they take a moment to leave a comment, the artist will never know it.

As readers, the feedback loop--there’s that feed word again! Once the artist posts their work, oh reader, the feedback loop is in your hands. In this economy, many people can’t afford cash. But other things feed the artist too. Your smiles, your laughs, your questions, your referrals to friends, all these things are welcome.

If you enjoy “free” fiction, or poetry, or music, or any artistic endeavor online, whether it’s my work or someone else’s, please take a moment, open that comment box, and let your fingers do the tapping. Even a single word lets the artist know they are not, in essence, singing on an empty El platform, with only the echo of their own voice to keep them company.
 
Copyright 2009 Deirdre M. Murphy

Busking in Cyberland is the continuing musings of the artist on her experiences with crowdfunding. 
 
You can find the other entries here.
 

Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
miintikwa
Aug. 4th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
*applauds* Thank you for this. :)
wyld_dandelyon
Aug. 4th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!
flutterbychild
Aug. 4th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
Most definitely!
wyld_dandelyon
Aug. 4th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
Good to see you here!
jolantru
Aug. 4th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
Ditto, ditto, ditto. :)
wyld_dandelyon
Aug. 5th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
ditto gives you purple fingers...

Of course, I like purple!
cetriya
Aug. 4th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
Givin how people are a selfish bunch, they dont have the time to even comment but get upset if your stuff is not good or you missed an update.
wyld_dandelyon
Aug. 5th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
I don't think people understand the power that the web gives readers to support and inspire the projects that they love. Especially when the economy is bad, and people like me don't have a day job.

It makes a person willing to try new things, and very willing to put time and effort into projects that are bringing in any money at all.

I love your icon, by the way!
(no subject) - cetriya - Aug. 5th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wyld_dandelyon - Aug. 5th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC) - Expand
trecomics
Aug. 4th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
Well put. :) Passing this around if it's ok!
wyld_dandelyon
Aug. 5th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
Certainly! Thank you.

I have a landing post for my fiction, so people can read it in order, rather than scroll through my journal trying to find all the pieces; I'm now thinking I need to have one for the Busking in Cyberspace entries as well.
sythyry
Aug. 5th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
I just posted what I want, yesterday. It works reasonably well: a fair number of people do my #1 desire, of commenting in my journal. And I get a trickle of money and art, too, which is a happiness.

wyld_dandelyon
Aug. 5th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
How did I miss that post! Thanks for linking to it.
lvictoriaart
Aug. 5th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
smiles big. Very well put, thank you for posting this!
wyld_dandelyon
Aug. 5th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
eaglemaina
Aug. 5th, 2009 12:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It was very well put! =)
wyld_dandelyon
Aug. 5th, 2009 02:11 pm (UTC)
You're welcome and thank you.
red_trillium
Aug. 9th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC)
I've often taken pictures and thought I liked them, or took pictures for "me" that I wouldn't show people because that kind of thing had never been well received.

Then Teh Interwebz came along. I started putting my photos over at Webshots to share with family and friends I left in the US when I moved to NZ. I'd get some feedback occassionally, but again wouldn't usually put those "special" photos up that I really liked.

I joined LJ, started making virtual friends, started linking them to photos. People started commenting. I put up some of my "special" photos and found that some people liked them! They didn't think I was strange or weird for taking them, didn't get bored with them.

Their comments, heck just knowing someone might look at them, has inspired me to try to continuously improve and to keep taking pictures. I think it's the same for writers and other artists. You need that feedback to know that you aren't alone, that someone else does appreciate it.

And maybe one day both of us will be able to make decent money and survive off our creative endeavours.
wyld_dandelyon
Aug. 9th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
Yes! Very much yes--it's a great dream to be able to make money from our creative endeavors, but it's vital to find an audience, people who listen, who appreciate what we do.

And yet, it's hard to put your best out there, knowing people may not like it. I'm so glad you started posting your special photos. (-:

The need for an audience--a community--is why I don't plan to stop writing Fireborn even though I'm not getting anywhere near professional rates for the writing, though I may go to a slower publishing schedule if more sponsors don't appear. I know that I'm not the only one reading it. And that matters a lot.

And I really like the interactive potential of the net, that it doesn't just have to be me, the solitary hermit, whose voice eventually is heard out there in the world--but something more organic, more like being a verbal storyteller, telling a story in the moment, to people who are listening and reacting, whose reactions are just as vital a part of my experience as a storyteller as my words are to theirs as readers.
(no subject) - red_trillium - Aug. 10th, 2009 08:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wyld_dandelyon - Aug. 10th, 2009 08:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wyld_dandelyon - Aug. 10th, 2009 08:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - red_trillium - Aug. 13th, 2009 08:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wyld_dandelyon - Aug. 13th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - red_trillium - Aug. 15th, 2009 08:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wyld_dandelyon - Aug. 15th, 2009 09:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - flutterbychild - Feb. 3rd, 2010 07:58 am (UTC) - Expand
flutterbychild
Feb. 3rd, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)
May I repost this to therebirthofme?
wyld_dandelyon
Feb. 3rd, 2010 10:57 am (UTC)
Certainly! Just link back here. (-:

I'm glad you enjoyed it!
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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