I could dish out some excuse for not posting last week but that would be bullshit. You know it. I know it. I don’t really have an excuse other than poor time management and that shit is on me. I dropped the ball. I could site writer’s block but the truth is I don’t believe in writer’s block or any other kind of block for that matter. If when you were in school and you didn’t hand in your essay on the causes of WWI or your dissection of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and you told your teacher you didn’t do your homework because you had writers block that shit would not fly, because writer’s block is bullshit and your teacher knows that.
The reason I bring this up is because the hot thing these days is to be creative so naturally everyone wants to call themselves an artist no matter how talented, committed, or genuine they are. Anyone who can use filters on instagram thinks their a visionary and wants to be seen as such.
This isn’t just because I don’t understand modern art. Which I don’t. I have no idea how something qualifies as art or who decides on this. I can’t even tell if art these days is actually art or a joke.
As much as I don’t understand the art community I feel there are a few things artsy community doesn’t understand. Things that I’ve decided to address this week starting with…
You Don’t Become a Professional Through Pure Virtue of Doing Something.
I know what you’re thinking, “you’re a fucking hypocrite. You write a blog for fuck’s sake and it’s not exactly a scientific journal”, and you dear reader are correct. I do keep a blog. A blog that I occasionally like to use to point out fucked up shit and in this I do not consider myself immune. I do however have one small but significant difference from my fellow creative minds. I do not consider myself an artist. I don’t even consider myself a writer for one simple fact, I do not get paid to write. I have no career of which to speak of and that alone is enough to disqualify me from telling people that I’m a writer. Have you read my About blurb? I have never presented myself as a writer and until the cheques start rolling in I wont.
If you asked someone what they did and they told you they were a soccer player you’d expect they played on a team even if they weren’t competing for the world cup. If when you asked about it they told you, “I’m not on a team exactly, I meet up with some guys to play a couple times a week but I really want to go pro.”, you would call that person out. They’re not a professional athlete no matter how badly they’d like to be and telling people they are is a false representation.
Same goes for telling someone you’re an artist. You don’t get to just decide you’d like to be something, you have to work for it. You earn the right to call yourself a painter, or a dancer, or a musician like you would any other profession. You need to land the job before you get the title. Slapping paint on a canvas doesn’t make you a painter in the same way being in the police academy doesn’t make you a cop.
Inspiration is For Posers
Now that we’ve established the difference between being an artist and having an artistic hobby we can get back to the writer’s block thing. I guess I should say something more like “inspirational block”. The thing is if you are a professional at anything you don’t get to decide you’re just not feeling it today and head to the tv to watch re-runs of Criminal Minds, you have to do the thing you’re paid to do whether you’re in the mood or not. Not doing your job is how people get fired. That’s the difference between something being a job and something being a hobby. When it’s your job you have a deadline to meet or commitment to fill and deadlines don’t get pushed back for inspiration.
For my 12th grade high school provincial english exam the topic for our final essay was “Inspiration can be found anywhere” which of course is a load of sentimental crap. What the fuck kind of topic is that? What were they excepting a few hundred thousand essay’s on what inspires their author? So much for a free range essay. The boring classroom with it’s white walls and squeaky chairs held no inspiration so instead I pulled my inspiration from 2 places: 1. my frustration for being given such a retarded topic. And 2. my ass. My final essay for a government test turned into a editorial on the vague absurdity of the topic and an open mocking of the member of the educational system who gave it to me. I still Aced that exam.
Do you always have to be inspired? Of course not, that’s impossible. Do you have to love everything you create? Fuck no. Just like real parents you’ll always love some brain children more than others. Same goes for people who sold one sculpture or wrote one screenplay and made it big, if you take 10 years between project should you still be allowed to call yourself an artist? It’s one thing to retire it’s another to sit on your ass waiting for inspiration to strike when it may never happen. You have to make it happen. Half your job is finding what inspires you and if you’re not looking you’re only doing half the job.
Being Creative Is No Better than Being Rational
What the fuck is this shit? So called “right brained” people think they’re so much better than everyone else. You’re so exciting and free spirited and if I think your abstract art is bullshit than I just “don’t get it”. Fuck you. I get it. It’s a bunch of lines and dots and splashes of paint you threw at a canvas to express how you were feeling at that moment. Well, it’s a mess. There’s no craftsmanship and no one can decipher how you were feeling except for maybe a forensic specialist in a lab. Go take an art class and your local rec-centre.
I know that there are a lot of creative people out there who are also nice people. look at me! However, I think we’ve all met those artist types who have their head so far up their own ass you swear you can smell shit on their breath. As is taking art classes in high school instead of academics somehow gives them a greater emotional depth than those who didn’t. They’re special and interesting. No one can see things the way they do and anyone who doesn’t like what they do with their unique perspective is an uncultured swine who can only see the world in black and white. They’re stunting the growth of society!
Many of my friends consider themselves more artistically inclined and we definitely have a bit of a barrier in the sense that I am nothing if not a realist and my tendency to point out flaws in lines of thinking or ideas gets me labelled a pessimist. They think I’m small minded for being tied down by details and I think they’re small minded for neglecting the facts. A more logical person’s ability to detach emotionally from a topic makes them seem cold to their more emotional peers and that’s where the frustration comes from. For the expressionists among us they can find an emotional connection to anything and it’s strange and even inhuman to them that others could seem so apathetic towards things they feel so powerfully about. They assume you’re emotionally stinted in some way.
It also may be that they don’t like being questioned and called out on some of their more grandiose ideas and views. No one likes to feel stupid and when someone starts poking holes in your thoughts and principals you get defensive. Everyone needs people who can keep them on their toes and question them every now and a then, it’s the only way you really think things through from multiple perspectives. You can’t skate through life in a bubble of glitter and impulsive decisions. Being realistic and grounded is just as valuable as being imaginative and expressive. No one can really be categorized as right or left brained. You need to use both. In order to be innovative and move society forward you need free thinking and creative problem solving but you also need to be practical and detail orientated in order to get those ideas off the ground. We need each other.
At Any Given Time There Are Thousands of People Doing the Exact Same Shit As You
One of the worst things to ever come from the school system is this notion that everyone is special and unique from everyone else. That was a bold faced lie that gave us a generation of entitled and over confident assholes. I mean, just Look at me! That is a different post for a different time I’m afraid. Oh, boy do I have a bone to pick with my fellow millenials…
We see this line of thinking in pretty much any line of work but there’s something about the artistic community that just seems to radiate this air of, “Pay attention to me! I’m an exciting and rare individual!”. If there’s one thing they’re sure of it’s that they have a distinctive voice from everyone else working in their medium. They’re different from the rest of their contemporaries. They’re going to innovate their industry! If you do congratulations because from an outsider’s perspective you all seem to be doing pretty much the same thing. Over and over again.
In a world as globally connected as we are it’s hard to have a one of a kind idea. With a population of over 7 billion people there’s bound to be some over lap and with as much information and media available as there is it’s hard to not have that 1 in a billion, original, never before thought of, idea not be contaminated by outside influences. I’m not saying you should despair and give up ever trying to produce anything meaningful ever again. That would be stupid. It’s equally stupid to be working under the impression that whatever you’re working on right now hasn’t been done before.
Writer and literary critic Arthur Quiller-Couch said that there are only seven different plot conflicts and that every story ever written is just a variation of one of those seven.
Whether you believe it or not you have to agree that there are only so many possible plot twists and themes in the world. Even knowing this doesn’t make you like reading or watching movies any less than you would otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with a little repetition in this world especially if it’s something as good as Shakespeare or Hong Kong crime thriller Internal Affairs.
Hell, you’ve probably read this exact same blog entry before even if it did have different photo captions. I acknowledge this, I accept this, and I don’t give two shits. I’m still going to post it anyway. Stop being delusional. Individual and maybe there’s no one out there exactly like you, but there’s a whole smorgasbord of people out there of people who are pretty damn close.