Not For Art’s Sake
I feel overrated.
No, I’m not as accomplished and talented a homo sapien as, say, ke$ha and no, I haven’t carried out my mission to dedicate my life to backpacking around the world and giving help to those who need it along the way. God I haven’t even planted a tree for the future to reap (the tomatoes I planted all died), and lately I haven’t been exerting effort to quit wallowing in my emo bouts and carry on working on the fiction I’ve been wanting to finish for submission to a publication. I don’t know; it’s just that I’ve been feeling pooped-out.
Maybe it’s because I know that every idea that I have in mind will never amount to anything novel and wonderful. I’m not an insecure strain of person, I wish I was, but really I just feel as if my creative juices are sapped: every kind of self-expression has been said and done, and me repeating them is simply the greatest disrespect that I could do to these superlative artists of all time.
Whenever I come up with something that I feel I could call mine, it will always lead me to discovering that it is already somebody else’s, that it has in fact a copyright written all over it. Now I’m not really surprised about that, me growing up and getting exposed to a generation of recycles and disposables. But then it’s not like they’re the ones who directly influenced me; how can that be when my idea of self-expression is geared towards at spoofing them?
I’m talking about the true artists and maestros that I look up to: one way or the other, it will become clear to me that the things I want to personally achieve in the fields of music, literature, film, poetry, painting, photography, sculpture etcetera are nothing but grotesque replicas of those that I idolize. And why not: when it all comes down to the nitty-gritty of it, I am not really me, anyway. I am but a product of other people’s opinions, art, and credos, and all that is my participation in there is to shuffle and reconfigure them to death to be lovingly labelled as Me.
And that is why I have so much respect for those people who came before us the Digital Age, they who had no things to imitate senseless and just acted on the call of their times and out of it generated heartfelt originality and genuine masterpieces. I think about Edgar Allan Poe, and how could he have written his poetry in such an “unprivileged” times. And what about that book Weathering Heights? How could its claustrophobic story settings be a mind-opener and inspire writers from each decade to create unabashed similar pieces? Emily Bronte was an impoverished, deprived soul, yet she wrote as though she’s a professional shrink. And let’s not even talk about music. I wouldn’t know where to start with that. Okay: what’s with the nauseating emphasis on the “packaging” of these supposedly singers? Radio is dying because people’s idea of listening to music have been reduced to just gawking at the “singers” and talking about their clothes, hair and all that crap and glorifying the controversies they stir. And today’s movies? Gee, except for the rare gems in the underground scene, without blockbuster Hollywood cutouts and computer-generated effects in them, directors and producers won’t have anything to make up for their drivel storylines. Enough said. I could go on forever comparing and blowing up the gaping holes between the past and the present. I guess let me just suffice it to say this: in a time where we are so advanced, where technology rules our lives and globalization such a lovely word, basically where resources are made to be at our fingertips already, really now, how come we’ve never made fully use of them to not embarrass ourselves?
When people finally discover the answers that have been challenging their being, that for me will be the time when art dies. For mysteries are the very foundation of people’s imagination, and without them existence will lose its life. The pot at the end of the rainbow will break and fall from the sky; the ember that pirouettes between two lovers staring at each other will lose its glow. And we will lose the magic of this very moment, the moment of being free in our terms, and we will be left merely existing and not living.
So should we stop looking for the answers? Of course not. Well certainly not me. Because I want to understand these “looking for the answers” thing as something as feeling the need to pour my heart on everything I want do, regardless whether it’s seen by other people as derivative and contrived. For as long as I know for myself that the things that I do are born out of passion and sincerity, then my mountains would be unmoved. Questioning is the air I breathe. And for that I have to soldier on squeezing the creative juices of what’s honest to me.
Self-discovering is performance art, and I’m lost. We are all lost.