“…A work of art needs to have a clear, well defined idea… If you stroll down an image strewn path without any definite aim, you’ll lose your way, and your talent will be the ruin of you.”
-Dorn in Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull
When I woke up today I though about Incubus’ “New Skin”. The djembe rhythm and strums of guitar were pulsing in my head and I wanted to play it, over and over. I brushed the dust off my long neglected djembe and started playing. For an hour first thing in morning I played, and would depart Incubus’ template getting lost in my own rhythms. I returned to the original idea knowing I wouldn’t match Vocals/Djembe percussion Brandon Boyd’s effortless heartbeat beaten out.
I dreamed of what must be Boyd’s charmed life. He makes art, writes and plays music. In The Seagull terms I am living Kostya’s early envy of Trigorin’s success. I am working 60 hours a week negotiating a free time maze, trying to pay for all the things I fall in love with. Djembe drums and recording studio quality speakers. Hip shoes I saw Johnny Depp wear once. Buying flowers and drinks for a girl that doesn’t want me anymore; while I imagine I am Rivera and she is my passionate alienated Frieda and this is just a temporary phase.
“If men were able to be convinced that art is a precise advance knowledge of how to cope with psychic and social consequences of the next [technology], would they all become artists?”
-Marshall McLuhan Understanding Media the Extensions of Man
I bracketed technology because McLuhan often puts artists in the realm of illustrating present experience in total. He has described the artist as feeling outside the contemporary way of life enough to more objectively describe where we have been and where it feels we are going.
We have so many modeled behaviors for our lives. I’ve learned form Pinterest what to keep on my walls, how to dress, what I could eat and drink if I wanted to completely live the “bohemian” model. This is not a negative experience; My walls otherwise may have been plainer if I hadn’t seen someone more thoughtful provide a recipe. However to be happily boho today I need to work two jobs; dreaming of Boyd’s life eating clean California food and selling the world his eloquent heartbeat.
It speaks to our culture that we do not hire people to dream the big dreams unless it promises big audience sales. It speaks to our culture that we are not interested in dreamers’/makers’ work until they are deemed valuable by a larger group. The my girlfriend’s parents assumed a lifetime of poverty and my lack of “contribution” because my natural talent is to love big, dream, and make things even though I do not have an enraptured audience yet.
I can confirm today, in my culture, my love of artwork, music making, writing, cooking, and letting others define me as a hopeless dreamer has made my life flavorful, passionate, and more materially difficult. Not being born with copious wealth means my sixty hour work week can be done every week without a second thought. Kostya’s envy is within me; and all the parents and career websites, all the doubters scoff at my color choices in every brushstroke. Here with my tools, my body, my mind, and my naive love I do not feel hopeless. I will not be ruined for love.