Without getting too specific and personal, I’ll open by saying that I had a pretty soul-crushing weekend. However, this is not a post to drum-up sympathy, it’s more of a “hey watch this train wreck!” post. In the midst of this emotionally stressful weekend, I whipped-out Dreaming Vicariously, the novel I’m currently in the midst of re-writing. The events in the novel strangely mirrored the events in my life. Well, perhaps “mirrored” is an embellishment. You get the idea. Anyhow, the important thing is that I used that grief and negativity to write and get a pretty clear vision of the direction I want to go in – huzzah! Right?
Oh, if it only it were that easy.
I may have skirted around this before , but it bears re-visiting. In Jim Harrison’s novel “Sundog,” a character says the line, “all artists do something to make themselves sick,” which I thought was rather poignant. The idea, of course, is that the artist then uses the ensuing shit-storm of whatever they’re in to make great art, but more importantly, the insinuation is that the self-affliction part is subconscious and therefore beyond the artist’s control. Maybe this is why artists are often viewed as “strange” or “complex,” but in my opinion, especially reflecting on my own situation, it’s not “complex,” just self-destructive and dumb.
Afterwards I’m left thinking, “Is my life too easy?” Which sounds like a stupid thing to think, because so much of our daily lives is bent towards making life easier to live. I’m also left wondering if the writing I’ve done could’ve been better had I been more distressed at the time, and if it’s possible to make great art without being in some sort of despair.