Sunday, August 26, 2007


He called it fabricating my oil painter, when I told him how I used to late night carouse vicarious stories from lonely strangers for more fascinating memoir entries.

A healthy curiosity maybe more than that.

Even more -- a fearless approach to the unknown.

Fabricating? Not so much I think.

He must've thought what I did was dumb in a way.
Otherwise he might've called it 'experiencing.'

In a conversation on the telephone, the night before, an internet acquaintance working on a MFA in creative writing said, "Write me a 15 page essay, about the worst thing that's ever happened to you. I'll edit it and we'll see if you can get accepted into a program, here in Columbus."

My response was that I didn't even enjoy reading about other people's problems, that it wasn't really my thing, that I had plenty of my own problems, which I try not to think about.

"I know," he said. "I can tell. And this is why you can be really good with enough structure and guidance. I'll do it too. I'll help you because I'm tired of reading essays about rich debutantes getting fingered in the back seat of some luxury vehicle."

"I want mothers burning their children with cigarettes stories, with womanizing fathers who were alcoholics. I want you to tell it and tie it into what makes you the asshole you are today. Do it, and you'll be successful."

When I told my oil painter what the MFA guy said, he called him a sensationalist who's spent too much time in books and essays, and not enough time in life.

"The perfect approach for him would be to find some other writing student who's been burdened with the glorious idea of 'pain as the ultimate inspiration,' date them and then turn into a drug abusing transvestite, while she in turn, beats him daily while becoming a nymphomanaic seeking strange encounters with fat Mexican men."

[I love it when he does that. Humiliates someone without even knowing he's doing it when he's annoyed or being defensive, the target becoming the hero of some disgusting hypothetical situation. It's clever context at its finest. Rude imagery as revenge.]

"Poor uncreative artists," he said, "They're not like us. They don't understand that stories are everywhere, and that they don't necessarily rely on cynicism."

"This is why I hated most of the professors at college. Most of them. Sensationalists resenting raw talent unless rooted into some life of heroin addicted-teenage-prostitute-mother-ambiguous-father humiliation badge."

"This is why most abstract art is crap," he said, "guys like him who are so burned out by their own uninteresting lives that countless hours of reliving the horrible events of other people's lives have left them numb."

[I like it when he gets on heated tangients too.]

Sometimes people take themselves too seriously, or others, when they are not sure that they are good at things, like making art.

It's odd, since being good at things mostly takes practice unless, like in some cases, their parents are good at things like making art too, and then people dislike them for that; friends, the tired rejected, passive aggressive snakes, scholarly types, or miserables in constant turmoil over something for what seems like the sake of it alone.

They say things like, "there's no such thing as talent," or "that professor sucks and I hope he dies and maybe I'll write a story about it if he does, maybe I'll kill him myself, maybe I'll go read a story similar to something like that, and get some coffee at that place with the great Tres Leches."

It's very easy to get caught up in bullshit because its definition is ambiguous. And look how ambiguity can be interchanged with subjectivity as if they are in the same breath of certain uncertainty.


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Robert said...

I don't know anything really.
But it seems to me the best art, whatever form it takes, comes from a place where nothing matters to the artist. The best art is just pure expression.
When I write now I feel what I am writing about should take second seat to how I'm writing it.
How a story is told is more important that what is told.
In fact I feel story is not important at all. Not to art anyway.
But I can't back this up. I'm only going by my gut and a little experience.

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