“Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 50?”
“Picture your ideal life…what does it look like?”
“What’s your goal for your….everything?”
“What do you mean you didn’t have your entire life planned out in crystalline detail and scheduled to the minute by the time you graduated kindergarten?”
Excuse me, I have to go lie down on the floor and have an existential meltdown; I don’t know if I’m having a second cup of coffee this morning and this failure of basic organizational planning skills may cause calamitous financial and structural ruin. It might also be known to cause cancer in the State of California, and I don’t know if that’s just California specifically or if I need to be concerned about this in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and I’m not caffeinated enough to deal with that level of responsibility this early in the morning.
“Art Is Always Political! Art Is About Passion And Deep Feelings And Grand World-Changing Insights! Anything Less Isn’t Art. (also, don’t expect to get paid for bringing meaning to the world, freeloader, get a real job)”
Can’t art just be for the sake of being? Why does it have to be load-bearing and responsible for the course of the world and all of history? Look, I’m a small, anxious mammal who can barely manage to be the god of my own immediate biosphere. I just want to share the random shiny things my magpie heart thought were neat, not be responsible for saving the world. Or destroying it, either, for that matter, because I guess that’s something else that artists are supposed to do?
“What do you DO?!?”
I…I don’t know? I lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling a lot? I look out the window and watch the wind walk through the trees like a great, unseen being passing by the small, soft animals of the woods, uncaring of schedules or the shifting quicksand of societal expectations, and wish I had wings to fly alongside it, even for just a moment. Sometimes I make pictures with a paste made from water and crushed up rock powder, or string bits of glass or shiny stones together. Sometimes I scratch small tales onto a bit of bark that I found while following a moth down a moonlit road because they made me smile. Sometimes I keep them, and sometimes I leave them lying around for others to find, and hope they make them smile, too. Sometimes someone finds them and takes my offerings and goes on their way. Sometimes they pause and leave a piece of shiny metal or brightly dyed fabric that I can trade to someone else for food. Sometimes they tell others where the offerings are, and they come and see, and maybe also leave a bit of metal or cloth for me to trade for food.
Most of the time, though, I worry that I’m not really an artist because I don’t write Deep Social Commentary and my art isn’t about Big Important Feelings and I forget that I poured a second cup of coffee and now it’s sitting on the counter, cooled to that annoying temperature where it tastes like ashes and now I have to decide if I’m going to make another cup before I go stare at a blank piece of paper and hope that today is one of the days where I can ignore the voices that whisper and gibber in my ear that I’m Not Real Enough and should change my name and run away to be a cashier at a rest stop gas station in the middle of the night with the other ghosts and liminal creatures…