Art & Soul

Carolyn Par­sons talks risk and re­ward in her first col­umn for The Cen­tral Voice

The Central Voice - - Front Page - Carolyn Par­sons Carolyn R. Par­sons is an au­thor in cen­tral New­found­land and she can be reached at car­olyn­r­par­[email protected]

Wel­come to my very first col­umn with The Cen­tral Voice. Some of you may know me from my time writ­ing for The Pi­lot. I am the au­thor of three nov­els and a po­etry book and most re­cently co-host of an on­line arts and en­ter­tain­ment ra­dio/pod­cast pro­gram called “Bridges” that I pro­duce in part­ner­ship with Ci­tadel House in Lewisporte.

We’ll talk to mu­si­cians, writ­ers, visual artists, pho­tog­ra­phers, ac­tors, and so on. But it’ll also have a bit of a philo­soph­i­cal bend. The arts are a re­flec­tion of our cul­ture. Cre­atives share thoughts and in­spi­ra­tion through their work and that will seep deep into this col­umn.

This week is about tak­ing chances, di­rectly in­spired by New Bruns­wick mu­si­cian Mike Big­gar who I had the good for­tune to speak with re­cently. His lat­est al­bum is en­ti­tled “Go All In”. I asked him if the ti­tle was in­spired by a new de­ter­mi­na­tion in his own life to just “giv’r,” as we say around these parts, or if it was just a re­in­forc­ing a gen­eral phi­los­o­phy of his. His re­sponse was that in­deed, he’d re­cently made a com­mit­ment to re­ally go all in with his mu­sic ca­reer, to plan tours, get out there and find new au­di­ences for his mu­sic, which he de­scribes as soul­ful roots and blues.

Mike says of his re­cent, and dras­tic, ca­reer change, “You get to the edge of that cliff and you’re sorta like, I dunno.” He laughed and I did too, be­cause we’ve all been at the “I dunno” part. It’s all too of­ten the point where it’s tempt­ing to just take a selfie and leave.

Mike knows from ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing jumped out of a decade­long ca­reer as a min­is­ter to rein­vent him­self as a full-time mu­si­cian.

“There’s no rug you can stand upon that can’t kinda get pulled out from un­der you in this world,” he says of his de­ci­sion to make the risky foray into the life of full-time singer-song­writer-per­former.

A line from his ti­tle track, “Go All In”, says “I’d rather go big even if I go bust.” He told me that from his ex­pe­ri­ence, “You learn more from fail­ure than you do from suc­cess.”

For­tu­nately for Mike, there hasn’t been a lot of bust. He’s got two East Coast Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion awards and three Mu­sicNB awards.

He wouldn’t have had these suc­cesses had he not dived off that metaphor­i­cal cliff. Why is it that so many are afraid to go bust? Fail­ure is painful. It’s also in­evitable that fail­ure will come at some point in your life. Isn’t it bet­ter to fail do­ing some­thing you love? At least you were happy in the do­ing of it as you pick your­self up and try again.

I con­fess I’ve turned back from the cliff a lot. It’s only re­cently I came to the re­al­iza­tion that it’s the fear of suc­cess that has held me back as much as the fear of fail­ure.

We all know fail­ure sucks, but of­ten don’t re­al­ize that there is a painful en­ergy that sits in your stom­ach ev­ery time you’re at the precipice of suc­cess as well. It’s un­com­fort­able and re­quires a bit of a walk through, or a top­pling over, or a deep dive. I’ve felt it, turned back and started down a dif­fer­ent, eas­ier path, far too many times.

It’s hard to punch through that nag­ging dis­com­fort of the un­known. The bust might come but so might the next suc­cess and as scary as both can be, an at­tempt will yield more sat­is­fac­tion than not try­ing at all.

I’ve de­cided not to be de­terred be­cause of some­thing that feels like bad gas af­ter sev­eral slices of cheap pizza.

I’ll pop an antacid, or even bet­ter, pop a Mike Big­gar al­bum on the old smart­phone, and bar­rel through. As Mike says, go all in, and go big or go bust.

Mike Big­gar will be on tour in cen­tral and east­ern New­found­land and Labrador start­ing Sept. 14. De­tails at www. mike­big­gar.com.

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