"Bette Midler told Patrick Healy, of the Times, that she had wanted to be a serious dramatic actress but had faltered for lack of courage. 'I have that terror,' she said. 'Will people like you? Will they ask you back? Did I make the cut? That's always on my mind.'
To hear the brash, funny, commanding (as far as we knew) Midler tell of worrying whether people would like her is painful. But, in every group of artists, the insiders can tell you who, among them, should have had a bigger career but, for some reason, was held back.
...[Dancer Mikhail] Baryshnikov believes that it is the feeling of obligation to the audience that triggers stagefright: 'Suddenly the morality kicks in. These people bought a ticket to your show.'"
We all know an individual who is brilliant, but also inordinately shy or reclusive. I liked Baryshnikov's comparison of such anxiety to a sudden, chastening sense of "morality" and responsibility to others.
Reading this made me sad to think of how many of the most gifted and sensitive people among us are too reticent, leaving a significant portion of success' upper echelon wide open for those who are mediocre but oddly devoid of the moral -- and perfectly natural -- inclination to occassionally check themselves and dial it back.