Archive for the ‘Art’ Category
I remember discussing the work of William Styron in his books Sophie’s Choice and The Confession of Nat Turner and how I love the way that his language flows so that the reader is enveloped in the story. The person with whom I was discussing it complained that Styron has tendency to show off his vocabulary, to “use a fifty-cent word when a ten-cent word will do.”
I’d like you to know that almost exactly fifty percent of what is stated in the essay is accurate. The other fifty percent is not. There really were several police cars, lights flashing, driving across the median of Highway 100 at the Excelsior Ave exit, causing all the cars on the on-ramp to pull over (even though the cops were not driving down the on-ramp; they were going cross-country). However, it is NOT true that I drove my Humvee past all the cars that had pulled over. I’m not saying whether there were donuts involved in this police action or not.
Nine clothing designers designed about 90 accessorized sets of clothing in the Sabbath Fashion Event on Friday Night at the Bedlam. I am something of a fashion expert myself, which is why I was there.
Oh, this book! This was the book that inspired me to be a writer and a girl spy. Both things I have achieved with aplomb. Blogging is very useful this way. It kills two birds with one stone. Harriet, as a character, was brilliant. She wore her orange hoodie and her canvas sneakers and carried her notebook everywhere and was sassy and smarter than her parents, her teachers, and, she thought, her friends. Harriet, hiding in the dumbwaiter is an image indelibly implanted in my brain. I have written all these years because of Fitzhugh’s Harriet. And have sometimes gotten myself in a spot of trouble just like Harriet for not having the ability to know who should see what.
He didn’t do issue films or bright, fluffy teen romances. He captured the pain of trivialities and the lack of perspective of teenagers. His parents weren’t monsters, just caught up in their own lives. Still and all, I never watched a John Hughes film that didn’t make me uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons.
Despite our society’s romantic, individualistic notions, ideas don’t spring fully formed from the aether. There is no cosmic fountain of creativity. The muses, just like all the other gods, are relics of superstition.
The second wife asked me one day why I never wrote poems like that for her, and she was mostly right. I rarely did. I didn’t want to tell her that she was such a critical reader I didn’t feel free to experiment and take risks with my poetry. More importantly, performing on demand for such a critical audience would have felt like a chore. I didn’t think that she would appreciate it if I didn’t have it “just right” and original. (Writing love poems as a metaphor for marital sex?)
I found an empty stool and sat down next to an older gentleman. He was wearing a gray beret. We chatted a bit about the weather, then I asked his name. “Vincenzo,” he told me.
Perfectionism is the least of the behaviors that are encouraged in art but need to be set aside if the artist wants to be fully accepted in “polite society.” Artists need the obsessiveness to see a project through with little feedback (or despite feedback). They need enough pride to believe that their ideas are worth executing. They need to be mercurial enough to suit their thinking to a new and very different project from their last. They need to ask uncomfortable questions and set aside polite fictions. They need to be willing to upset people. They need to be willing to manipulate their audience.
In many ways, art is antisocial behavior.
As much as anything else, Darwin’s legacy is the example of a life lived scratching that itch. Others could have discovered the same things he did. He didn’t do it by heroics but by work. He did what anyone could have done. He did what we all can do.
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