Friday, February 27, 2009
Indulging My Self
A comment on one of my recent posts referred to its content as self-indulgent. This isn't the first time someone has said this. But I'm not offended.I agree. My writing is sometimes self-indulgent. So is my art. I write and make art as a way of processing my own experiences in, or perceptions of, the world. My efforts don't nourish anyone (except, maybe, spiritually or intellectually). They don't give them shelter. They don't make them healthy or give them a basic education. In other words, they're not essential to anyone's existence other my own. The fact that I've dedicated my life to them is entirely about indulging my own urgent impulses – nothing else.There are people who connect with my work in different media. It means a lot to me that others find meaning within what I do. It also saves me – if only because my egocentricity is transformed, in some sense, into community. As I write about myself, as a young woman and an artist, and about the experiences, perceptions and yes, prejudices that motivate me, I am trying to reach out and touch, inform, inspire and sometimes, enrage. But I don't expect always to be successful – and if I'm not, I don't really care. I do it because I have to. Which is another way of saying I do it for myself.For a long time, I struggled with the innately selfish, self-indulgent, and solitary aspects of being an artist. I recognised there were higher vocations – just as there were, certainly, better jobs – and I admired them. But for better or worse I've learned to accept that I'm not suited to them. I'm an artist. There's simply nothing else I can be.