June 30, 2009

ars poetica

The artifice lies in the deception. We do not know where it truly lies. In a small country house on the outskirts of a poor rural village, perhaps? I don’t know, I need a fertile muse to strike me with her knowledge. Will I ever have a dream again? We are said to write to someone in all the works that we do, I haven’t found that one person I am supposedly writing to. Why do we write, paint, and compose? Is there something altruistic to it, something about creating more beauty in this world? I think much of it spring forth from man’s own vanity, wanting someday to be adored by masses of people, and to be cared about by strangers. It sure has fueled the celebrity culture that surrounds Hollywood.
There is a picture somewhere with Vladimir Nabokov sitting in a bathroom composing some work or another. He states that this one space was the only one in his own apartment at the time where he could sit and work. There is a pile of snuffed cigarettes in the tray to his right. Wolfe said that all one needed (women in particular) was 500 pounds a year and a room of your own. That may not sound like much now, but it seems to be something of a substantial income at the time she penned it. I wish I had my quotes straight and could attribute the next quote, but it fails me off the top of my head, but it has been said that “happiness isn’t very aesthetically pleasing,” There is nothing in the art that makes us want, there is no want. It goes back to Tolstoy, opening one of the most famous novels ever, saying that in despair we are all unique, but Happiness (with the proper noun status that is conveyed by the capitol) is an uninteresting emotion.
Lets see, poverty, squalor, despair, loneliness, and all general conditions of unhappiness do not make a great artist by way of fact. There are just as compelling arguments that the conditions listed above are precursors to many such things as addiction, mental illness, violence, and voting republican. Generally, it seems that in the past (and my knowledge of the literary past is admittedly Anglo-centric) one has to come from at least the middle class to make any kind of real living off the works of the mind. It is hard to consider basic fundamental truths of the human condition if you are excessively worried about how to fill your belly on a day-to-day basis.
It is with this knowledge that I write