Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hocking Me a Chinik

"Autumn Rhythm" by Jackson Pollock (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, George A Hearn Fund, l957)
Some people with artistic aspirations get things ass backwards. They believe the racquet makes the player or the bottle makes the wine. Their as if attitude towards existence can lead to the existential crisis in which one wakes up one day as if they were drowning, unable to stay afloat and feeling as if their whole life were a sham, their self-conception like that of Humpty Dumpty, in short feeling as if they inhabited a false self. Norman Mailer famously stabbed his second wife Adele Morales and there are writers who think that maybe if they stabbed their wives they will magically attain fame—forgetting of course that Mailer had earned plaudits for his work in spite of the stabbing, just like the appreciation of the work of V.S. Naipaul came in spite of the brutal and sadistic treatment of his mistress that was documented in Patrick French’s biography ("Misogyny, mistresses sadism: why Noble prize winning author VS Naipaul is at the center of the most vicious literary war of the decade," Daily Mail, 1/30/09. Those who might choose to be recluses should be reminded that Salinger moved up to Cornish, New Hampshire, eschewing the New York literary world after he was famous—and not before he'd published anything. Yes Jackson Pollock crashed his car into a tree, yes Mark Rothko committed suicide, but the self-destruction came in the wake of careers in which they were enormously productive. Just getting drunk all the time does not lead to creativity. Post hoc does not necessarily mean propter hoc. One thing does not necessarily come from the other, even though it may be marginally associated with it and that's not to discountenance the subliminally important role the Orphic impulse whereby destruction leads to creation (Joseph Schumpeter coined the term “creative destruction” to talk about capitalist innovation) may play in creativity. So before you stab your wife, or run off to hide in a cave or drop some acid, you might be best advised to write your great novels or paint your magnum oeuvre. Then leave it for posterity to decide whether or not you're were having an out of body experience.

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