RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Thursday, May 2

May the Two

I struggle with the locale I live at, feeling the allegedly artistic and intelligent and creative are deficient in those qualities yet abundant of confidence that what they do is important. The problem with this is I struggle with those feelings as well. It's hard not to wish you were recognized for your talents more, especially when you literally struggle to maintain status quo in your financial life and are pretty much doing the slowly sinking tread water thing that pretty much everybody is doing from $13K a year up to $87K a year. It's our culture; that's what's been built, and what holds us in place.
Also with everyone being able to circulate their thoughts/art/creations online to what is potentially an audience of EVERY FUCKING PERSON ON EARTH, you start to feel like there should be some sort of acknowledgement of what you are doing, some affirmation that what you do is worth it not just to you but someone else, and you are having an affect on the world. I know I have been paralyzed by wishing for that at times (not literally paralyzed, but my thoughts are too often attached to the fruits of creative actions as opposed to just doing shit for the sake of doing it). And there are people who are successful with the things they do, meaning they seem to be doing it for their job, and that confuses me as I'm not even sure how you do shit like that. I guess I fall back on my assumption you have to be born with a certain amount of shelter to afford yourselves psychic luxuries like "doing what you love" with your life, but that's only partially true and also partially a cop-out on my part.
One thing my wife and I jibber-jabber about is cutting ties, which has direct visual relation to being attached to the fruits of our actions. For us, it's in relation to bad relationships in our lives, visualizing a rope physically being cut between yourself and that person, to have no attachment to them, which doesn't mean you are like "fuck you" but does mean you are not controlled by their emotional tugs and pulls and nonsense. I am trying to be better about visualizing that with regards to my creative business on this earth. It's my job to blather nonsense constantly, that's what I'm supposed to do. And whether self-publishing or internet posting or haiku tweeting or zine making or traditional publishing or whatever, I have to cut the ties that attach me doing these things to some sort of end acknowledgement by others, whether that mean people wearing a t-shirt of mine or I get paid and pay my monthly bills with words essentially. I have to cut loose of that. In fact, to be honest, we all do. Shifts are happening, and honestly everybody is online right now feeling like they are sharing their special ways with the world, waiting for the world to acknowledge how special they are. Guess what though? We're all special. Everybody has fucking art in their head; whether you let it out or not, it's there. Also guess what though? With the globalization of culture through internet (which is still heavily segregated believe it or not... I know we like to think we see the entire world better now but seriously, any google search has a filter bubble over it, and it's not like if you search "soccer results" they show you shit from the African Champions League) we've all become more homogenized, more like each other. That actually makes it even more important we all let our individual crazy art out of our head, to fight the homogenization of bullshit, because nine times out of ten, when something is homogenized, there's somebody looking to make a dollar at the far end of the homogenization process. All the googles/facebooks/apples are not just kicking it trying to improve humanity; they are trying to improve profit. If they can make you think they are "doing good" and making life better, then you'll buy in.
Essentially that's the problem too - always buying in. I just self-published a book of haiku which actually is a pretty neat fucking collection of haiku. I have sold like 12. I didn't expect to sell more than that, but that gives you an idea of how things translate into reality. And one day when I sold two copies the same day, the book was like in the top 20 of poetry on Amazon's American site. Seriously, with only two copies sold. So no matter how skewed the algorithms are, there's not a lot of actual financial gain involved if I can jump into the top 20 and clear like $5.50 profit. What I'm saying here is the big pay-off is not imminent, no matter how wildly creative and talented and special genius you are. Perhaps you have the financial backing behind you to push yourself hard in the internet paint, and start to turn a nice profit, but having financial backing/promotional support does not directly correlate with artistic genius, ever. In taking a fiction workshop with an author dude who won the National Book Award before this semester, he told me there are two things required to become a successful author - you have to be good, and you have to have the right person notice you are good. That's the way our culture is built.
So here's the thing though... I don't want to support that. I don't want to be made into some asshole who looks like an asshole doing asshole things as a self-proclaimed writer. I just want to make shit. So many ideas and so few hours. Once you unleash the creative inside you, that's how it gets, and that's how it should be. You should be struggling to keep up with your artistic productivity, everybody should. Fuck making money, fuck being recognized, because all that is going to crumble under its own greed like a Bangladeshi garment factory. Creative processes are supposed to help us see the bullshit in our own lives, and to beautify the ugly. That's the whole point of it, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to graffiti on freight trains - it beautifies the ugliness. It doesn't take a genius to want to make something ugly look pretty, so no matter how wildly creative you or I am, we are not unacknowledged geniuses or artists yet to be discovered. We should be taking the pressure and turning it into gold and diamonds and leaving it all around us, fuck whether somebody knows about it or not. It's important to do so, leave it everywhere, hidden in letters to prisoners or lost tweets or left on benches and stapled to telephone poles. Too often in our culture, especially where everybody feels like they are "marketing" to EVERY FUCKING PERSON ON EARTH through the cyberbot machines, we do our thing and see it as gold and diamonds and automatically are like, "Man, I wish I could get paid for all these gold and diamonds I created." But that's not how it works. You leave it in the world, and then some other asshole will come along and mine it and make the money, and then it will be gone and hidden behind locked doors. That's how this culture works. Don't feed that; do your thing and do it fucking everywhere and don't be attached to that meaning this or that should happen and most of all, don't ever give a fuck about what happens after you do it. If you unlock that creative onslaught, let the miners come along and exploit it or the assholes steal it, because as long as you stay in that solid creative space, you'll do it forever. It'll be like breathing or eating, just something that has to happen daily. And if it's happening daily, why the fuck would you be so attached to what you did three months ago? Leave it there. Cut the ropes. Cut the fucking ropes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have part of an interview TONY did with Rupert Everett on my corkboard over my writing desk and they asked him if he was satisfied with his level of success. His response was "Success, first of all, is the most nauseating world. Success now is only about sales and receipts, which, if you think about it, is not really success at all. You wind up judging yourself against the highly paid actor or the movie that made $50 million over the weekend. It's part of the real sickness of our culture."

~A.N.A.W.