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bear by san

December 2021



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bear by san

Suffering for your art

Eh. Not so much.

There's a pretty cool interview with Charlie Finlay (man of many nominations) in a local Ohio paper this week. In which he says that writing should be fun, more or less, and the whole suffering for your art thing is like, well, why would you wanna do that?

*g* It's not so much suffering for your art, the way I see it, is you're gonna experience pain no matter what ("Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." -- Kathleen Casey Theisen {I think?}), so you may as well get some art out of it too.

But going out looking for the pain is a little gothier-than-thou. And I can say that, because I was Goth before we had a name for it. (I was a pretentious art fag. This was in the Smiths/Queensryche/Sugarcubes/Bauhaus era. Just to really date the hell out of myself. Which is kinda like being a beatnik in relation to the hippies, I guess. I got better. Still like the Sugarcubes, though.)

(I was country before--oh, wait. No I wasn't.)

(But I digress.)

Writing *is* fun. Or satisfying, anyway. Comforting, expressing some deep voice inside of me that is driven to just bloody say something. It completes me.

But that doesn't mean it isn'talso the hardest and most emotionally exhausting work I've ever undertaken.

On the other hand, brain surgery and nuclear physics are supposed to be pretty tiring, too. And most of those guys seem pretty happy with their lives.

So, you know. You got the suffering. And you got the art. And maybe the one grows out of trying to understand the other, to compress it into some shape that we can grasp and hold and understand. 'Cause life doesn't make sense, so much.

But good books help make it seem like it might if you squinted just right.


That was one of the other good things my writing prof this term talked about. He gave us Anne Lamott's _Bird By Bird_ to read, and assigned a few chapters, and then one of the things we discussed a bit was her focus on the writer as neurotic, on fostering those neuroses, even. Embracing and amplifying the angst. (Me, I was a bit disturbed by how she portrayed her students.)

His point was that there's an older model of the writer as a superbly balanced individual -- sounded a lot like the ideal liberal arts student. *g* I think I like that one better.

The angst will turn up any way you shake it. Five minutes to glory in it, then shaddup and write. So mote it be!