“the state of things,’ and I do make reference to the Wim Wenders movie about making a film about making a film on March 2nd, 2010.
What passes for greatness these days is barely more than right above the threshold of mediocrity, either noticeable for: commanding loudness, a translucent reverb of shock-and-awe, a binding pledge to some version of ‘delusions of grandeur,’ a stand-out visual attribute acculturated Love American Style, as in large breasts, perfect cheekbones, a chiseled belly, ‘classic good looks,’ and, if all else fails, brazen stupidity/foolhardy reckless abandon/lack of concern for consequences – as manifest in random acts of chiseled, publicity ploys, overnight sensation, one-hit wonder, wannabe has-been (which may be worse than a has-been wannabe, I’m not sure yet).
…is not necessarily a modicum of ‘talent’ (the whole concept of which should be up for review given the dearth of inspiration, with the cloying groupie, a bad stain, who just persists long enough will eventually enter the consciousness – as someone you should know, but can’t recall and wonder if that is a career-ender—as time goes on, or as a life moves ahead towards the ultimate irony, or joke – all this struggle to live only to be assured of dying – it seems that the ‘how’ is what we spend most our time on, and the pre-destined legacy we are sculpting always taking a photograph of a sunset, but never one actually watching the sun go down with his own eyes, until the day before the day he died. When cataloging any more is just a moot point.
There was a thing called your ‘craft’ that you would devote your life to, for better or for worse, like Henry Miller advised, you had to be willing to starve for your art (this said from the bar before a visit to the brothel – ah, the best things in life are certainly not free…), but that has come to mean other things as our world becomes fragmented, a Yale-mandated deconstruction of where the personal meets the political, public and powerful imposed on the anthropolgyy of the death
The transmorgrificaton of all things poetic, an passing desire to be a power-broker in a suit because you know you could have been, all in some sort of goulosh of worldview meets the inherent narcissim (and therefore to be embraced) of creating human value and seeking, largely unrealized until the end of experience, the meaning you bring to the world, however small in perception, however ignored by the media, however unseen by the masses, noted by the critics who advanced Basquiat beyond his mental capacity to cope with the reactions to what he was trying to say, or a Baudelaire who felt more being drunk, brought him closer to the truth of The Fleurs du Evil, as if evil can be presented in beauty.
It’s all in the recognizing of the deeper undercurrents, the history, the way it derives the present (FOR THE MOST PART DISSATISFACTION IN 9 TO 5 SURVIVAL, WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING LEFT OF THE SOCIAL STRATA OF WHAT IT TAKES TO BE WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE. When you are forced to let that go by circumstance, since there are no coincidences.
IT’S taping into Jung, when he’s not obscure, Einstein when he brings it down to earth, Aristotle in terms of how to wrangle the chaos and tell the story down through time to shape our evolution, the artists and writers and media makers/projectors, photographers, musicians, actors, and dancers who perform the dance, they are the dancer to the dance.
The Dame of Sunset Boulevard with a dangerous pool. The age of Cleopatra sets and run-away budgets, for an extravagance now replicated in 3-D, green screen, GCI artists who can create a simulated world we relate to in our future speak, but, if we were wise, would follow up with a retreat in to desert for 40 days and nights for some reconnection to the ancient interconnectedness, where our evolution can be contracted by a pinhole camera kit…
where home movies play on the back of a truck with a big screen and we sit out under the stars feeling familiar and loss but still the common tapping into the vein of creative source, the dark vein thru light rock in a cave, Plato’s cave and Kierkegaard’s reversal of so many assumed positions that were stagnant and didn’t utilize 1/10th of the human brain.
Mostly, you can tell when you look at someone — who has starved for their art v. those sisters-in-arms on the left side of the brain, gone to the commodity; each embraces whatever it is they do, whether stand-up or a poetry reading or singing a song, the desire to say something that adroitly eludes the deconstruction of its parts.
Once textured with the emotions that plague our actions and definitions of who we are in the eyes of others; when you get road weary and honestly perplexed by others’ lack of goodwill towards you, that grinding down of the bright-eyed little girl, the incessantly limitless petty remarks from people in power lording it over you, the patterns that made you the one they would seek out to destroy for being a threat to their hypocrisy.
WHICH leads me to where I am now: I must find the right word, sort of story, sort of philosophy, sort of essay written in the language of the best of Harper’s or The New Yorker stories, when they get the melding of character, place, plot and story arc, or anti-arc, but are committed to a certain POV that someone in the universe must share, it’s just a matter of finding them.
Most revered in fiction / the written word: characters going through life with a developing point of view, since experience cannot be separated from creation.. (whether we are in a stage of grow or stagnate — some stories about ruts are the best in the business) and where that leads you as the person you want to become. It’s the stories that play the game of leaving off in the middle, on some gimmick of clever words that mean nothing, not knowing how it ends themselves so just stopping. I always hated that.
Sure, the idea of ambiguity where characters are going on in some parallel universe, taps into the collective unconscious, and that is what, I think, makes art – that simple intent, however defined, the more it comes close to glimpsing whatever Plato was talking about in his cave of truisms, yet leaving open the details of execution, how the protagonist acts and reacts (which mandates a setting up of situations, character development and overall plot architecture, that sways with the words that come into the mind of the writer, writing the story of his or her life, in an alternate reality).
Sometimes the author just gives up— done with the formality of the short story, a haphazard way of cataloging a series of movements and internal dialogues, the way you’d sort it in Borges’ Library of Babel wile writing for for Harper’s, New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Virginia Review, not much Madame Bovary, Mother Courage, Waiting for Godot in there.
I remember the word Squandering coming to me on the bus as the book I would write, and it was as if I could see, feel, hear and taste it coming alive to me right there. I looked at the next star and I took each step methodically, as I left the library on Ivar and dragged myself up towards Hollywood—I was that worn out, that tired, that hungry, skinny and barely alive – I was sleeping on some sidewalk at that point, trying not to freak out, trying to figure it out, trying to survive with as much grace and humility as I could. One day at a time became one hour at a time, became the absolute immersing in the present.
AN incentive to utilize one’s expertise, to unearth a hidden means of achieving that, finding the patron spirit that has been a key in so many artist’s live.
…and that seems okay as long as it gets balanced with time back in the physical world where interaction with crazy people on 5th, either direction, gives more fodder for the creative side of the brain than any podcast on NPR-santioned poets who have arrived because they can reduce and subdue and make it lyrical and unmessy.