By James Curcio
I’ve been big on confessions lately. There’s much we can learn from one another by being honest, even if we give ourselves a certain poetic license with the form that honesty takes. So bear with me a moment.
I wrote a piece on modern mythology in May that talked about how I came to identify as an artist. I first started thinking about this because I asked UK-based artist Laurie Lipton a similar question in an interview, “Was there a sudden point when you realized 'I'm an artist,' or has that always been with you?,” and I realized I had never asked myself that question.
Being an artist seems like no big thing, but it takes a real psychological shock to stick with it.
“Being an artist doesn't take much, just everything you got. Which means, of course, that as the process is giving you life, it is also bringing you closer to death. But it's no big deal. They are one and the same and cannot be avoided or denied. So when I totally embrace this process, this life/death, and abandon myself to it, I transcend all this meaningless gibberish and hang out with the gods. It seems to me that that is worth the price of admission.” -Hubert Selby, Jr.That sentiment rings true for me. At the same time, you don’t get on a path that requires such a commitment without having a psychological reason for following it. We have to be tricked or cajoled by fate. For him, it was ostensibly being laid up in a sanitarium for four years with tuberculosis. For me, an alcoholic Grandfather. Either analysis is actually specious. Our latent traits are like fuel for the fire of our lives. Do we really want to atomize and dissect ourselves into a series of anecdotes born from our personal history?
I certainly don’t. The truth is, "A" (for artist) isn't the only scarlet letter I've sewn to my chest. Though I admit it selectively in public, close friends and lovers know that I also identify with another unfavorable term: philosopher.
Read the article on The Nervous Breakdown.
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