Tuesday, November 16, 2004


To: Conscious
From: Unconscious
Date: 16.11.04
Re: Organizational Changes

Dear _____,

You can never be an artist, but only attempt to become one. To live a life of arts is to live life in a state of perpetual becoming, akin to walking an endless road, but more like falling forever.

Take a look at the following three incidents:

1. At an opening last year, you met the famous artist, OH. While he shook your hand, OH leaned in close and said: I have seen your work - beautiful. You are very talented. The way you handle a knife - the way you can turn mountains into perfect geometrical shapes (and such clean lines!) with the blade - that is where your talent lies. It is your thing. He smiled, you smiled, and you released hands. The next day you obsessed over what he said. But what of my brushwork?, you asked yourself repeatedly, he didn't mention my brushwork! And from that point forward, you almost quit the knife, using it instead as a tool, and only when necessary. You can't be happy being great at something. No, you have to try to be great at everything. Your lines are not so clean anymore.

2. A colleague, a friend, once said of your writing: You have this way of writing the sick, the depressed, the lonely, that makes me really believe them. While reading your work I feel disconnected, detached, almost completely separated from my own emotions. I become a character in your story, lost and alone, too. You wouldn't speak to this friend for months. You couldn't. You blocked her on MSN, you couldn't return her calls, you left her email unanswered. You were working on a story filled with happiness. You'd show her - next time you spoke you'd have something really sunny for her to read. The characters wouldn't have addictions, wouldn't live alone - they would live contented lives filled with purpose and meaning. You wrote the story, but never showed it to the friend. And I just have to tell you - it stinks, don't show it to anyone.

3. While a passenger in a friend's car one day, one of your songs came on the stereo. You groaned and tried to change it, but he blocked all attempts. You were forced to listen. You turned your head, and watched through the window as the fields zipped by, and all the while your head was filled with anger and criticism. criticism for something you created. Something you were satisfied with enough to record. To make eternal. The mixing is all wrong, you thought, the vocals not loud enough, the drums sound like shit, the rhythm guitar is way too loud. Your little internal tantrum was interrupted by the end of the song, and your friend saying: I still find it hard to believe that's you. I mean, I heard it a few times before without even making the connexion. You're just usually so quiet, you know? It's really good! Catchy! At this, the little dictionary in your head started working. Good. Better than average. Well, that's just not good enough for you.

No, you will never be satisfied. You live in a world where compliments are something to be feared. You reject them. To create a work that everybody likes means that you are reaching an end. The pinnacle of your talent. And you fear that. It is far easier to hear criticism. It means you still have further to go. But you don't know that this road has no end.

You are falling, but there is nothing to break the fall.




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