Wednesday, February 07, 2007

TO BE OR NOT...

My ten year old got it right off. REAL. To be or not to be REAL. Is it nobler to accept what is unacceptable or better to act the outrage we feel and fight it to the death to correct, change, or end it? Are there alternatives? Is this a fork in the road, a left or a right, or are there other ways to go? Of course that depends. Depends on the limits of the inquiry. Do we only have two choices, paper or plastic, and we have to choose one. Are we boxed in?

And if we are boxed in what do we do? Hamlet didn't do so well, did he. He ended up choosing door number two. What would a Christian do? A Buddhist? An Muslim? Is this the light bulb joke? Is this some kind of joke? Is this the absurdity of life joke? What would the Existentialist do?

Is it real to be noble and let what is and has been be? The Buddhist would say so. It is not faking it to accept that this is life. There is not only no shame in suffering life's slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, there is indeed honor in it. Of course one person's outrage...so on and so forth. We are each tested in our own way on this. We all have our own Achille's heel, and we all have our own price. Only we can know what those are.

Artists, of course, have also struggled with these choices. How to be an artist? It is potentially a long and painful ride. Many artists, many famous and successful artists, have made the most literal interpretation. The obvious one. The question that Shakespeare wasn't actually asking. Not really. They decided to actually not be. To end it. To die. To kill themselves. To cease to exist. What about this? Did any of this have to do with the fact that they were artists?

Why have so many artists ended their lives? Is there one thing in particular? For the longest time I was naive about this. I have always been so grateful to be an artist that it never occurred to me that any of these people found their lives so unbearable that they couldn't go on. I just didn't know. I knew the work. I respected their privacy.

How many artists have been satisfied with their work and what came of it. That is the thing. We make things, and if we make something good we want something good to come of it. But of course this just doesn't happen. We are lucky to make things, and if we make something very good, we are very lucky, and if something very good comes of that, well then, that is beyond what can be expected. We must then consider ourselves very fortunate. But over and over we find that even this is not enough for some artists. And what of this pain? Can an artist just be happy to be able to be, to be an artist, to be alive, and able to translate, express, celebrate that experience, or is it our ineluctable nature to want more?

And more will be forthcoming...

3 comments:

VDizze22 said...

Frankly, I wouldn't mind knowing how to reconcile being a pretty damn good artist and going nowhere, at least nowhere fast and still seeing some of the crap that passes for art in the magazines. It is enough to make you choose door number three! How do people do it? Does this explain all the bitter artists I had as teachers? That was frightening! I sure don't want to go there!

zzzman said...

Yo... got that right! I'm a legend in myown MYND! Catch that! Only way to FLY!!!!!!!

kcybr@boundsco.com said...

I'm enjoying your blog. Kudos. I'm waiting for more!