Saturday, May 15, 2010


I am not a 'nice' person.
It used to bother me that I wasn't. I used to worry about what people thought of me. I pretended to be friendly, easy-going, nurturing and kind. It was unconvincing so I stopped.
I have few user-friendly attributes. I am aloof, self-centred, intolerant, demanding, uncharitable, moody, impatient, irritable, and unyielding. I am not good at small talk and team-work. I'm a difficult friend.
I'm amoral, ambitious and vain. I'm rarely satisfied with my lot.
I can be a careless and inattentive friend – for that, I'm sorry – as well a selfish lover. I rarely love myself. I'm estranged from my parents, brother and most of my old friends and I'm spiteful towards my enemies (it doesn't take much to become one). I don't forgive.
I'm often mad, in every nuance of its meaning. A lack of rationality isolates me. If I wasn't an artist, I'd have a hard time holding down even the most menial job.
My art doesn't make me 'whole' either. I am rigorous and uncompromising in every aspect of it. I leave no margin for error. I drive myself to the edge of exhaustion to fill every hour with its making and marketing. Like a monk-ish ascetic, I labour on my feet as a penance (or a facile expression of sacrifice) – it takes endurance – but there's no satori at the end of it.
My talent doesn't excuse any of this. Neither does my success. The only thing worthwhile is that I don't waste either of them. Talent doesn't often bring happiness and a deeper understanding of the world to its possessor but it can create both for others.
Which is to say, I am not a 'nice' person but I redeem myself when the potential of my talent is fulfilled.


gregory said...

cool, working through some stuff ... and the good news is, none of us are persons at all! of any variety!

Anonymous said...

WOW... you are soooooooooooooooooo creative! Your idiosyncrasies tick each and every 'creative-personality trait ever studied. I guess that puts you in the box seat.

Anonymous said...

I sense you're brutally honest with others and with yourself.
And to me, that is a revolution, because only so few can do both.

You go, woman! :D

Anonymous said...

It must be so so so liberating not having to pretend (of all human-made evil things to do). I almost get butterflies in my stomach imagining the kind of liberty, as I understand, you are talking about. I mean life would be so fulfilling if only one stops, just STOPS, trying to impress everyone. That would be super cool.
I just came and read this post again, and like many other things, when you read a book or study a film, you find different things depending on how far you have gone ahead, I found different things in this post and then I almost crave it now. I know I have it but right now it is a mirage I am chasing.

Just a question: Why have you used the picture of BURNING MONK in your post? I am curious.
I don't guess and I don't want to assume so I ask.

khunmeg said...

Oh Hazel, you had me until the very last line.
I respectfully disagree. There is no redeeming a lack of kindness, no matter how great we perceive the impact of our talent. But you are to be commended for having enough insight to know what you are and aren't. So few people bother.
"Anonymous" needs a hit over the head with something. I suggest a decent Psych text or even a book on the Enneagram PTI. Preferably hardcover.
It would be a kindness ;^)

Paul Martin said...

Embrace your inner bitch and recognise it is but one part of your collective identity, and not the real you. You may not love yourself, but if you can embrace each of your diverse personalities and be at peace and balance with them, you will find happiness and your talent will be for something more than it is now.

Anonymous said...

Just because you think you are being honest doesn't excuse how worthless you are to the rest of us. Self-centeredness is not a virtue, it is a curse. Greed is not an attribute, but Evil and Extremely Common.
If I would describe you based on what I just read, I would say a you are a 'Black Hole' sucking the life out of the Universe. I have nothing but pity for the likes of you. Rather than allow your self exclaimation of being a worthless piece of dung be a beacon for others to follow suit, it would be best if you decinerated into something useful (such as fertilizer) as soon as possible before you do any more damage to those who use their Art to inspire.So I say: "Out Dam Spot!"

Hazel Dooney said...

I don't usually publish toxic comments on my blog from those too gutless to put their real names to them but I just made an exception to the one above.

I've heard hundreds of different definitions of 'art' an 'artist' but none before included the moral demands of sainthood. I'm simply admitting my own flawed humanity, even if it means I'm not likeable.

I wonder if 'Anonymous' is as honest with him/herself. I suspect not. The sanctimonious seldom are.

Hazel Dooney said...

"There is no redeeming a lack of kindness..."?Khunmeg, perhaps not. But then I've come to believe that kindness is often a cover for the worst of other people.

Hazel Dooney said...

Paul, I'm afraid that, as spiritually elevating as your comments are intended to be, your view isn't supported by art's long history, from Da Vinci and Caravaggio (and before) to Picasso.

Amy said...


explanation: i'm not sure what to say, except that this touched me, resonates within me, and is a bit haunting. not in a bad way. so if i could be with you in the same room, i would say nothing at all, just be present. but this is bloggy e-land, and i didn't want you to confuse silence with not being here.

Paul Martin said...

I dispute "that to be a truly great artist you need to be a misanthrope".

My view has no place in the history of art. So make your own history and fuck everyone else.

Don't live my truth, I'm just giving my 2c worth, with whatever love I can muster. Sincerely. We all battle the same demons.

Maria Brophy said...

At least you know who you are, Hazel. Not everyone is a people person, and even so, you have so many people that love and appreciate your artwork and your complicated personality! You are one of the most interesting artists I know of. I'm so glad you have your health back. When you were gone, you were surely missed.

Anonymous said...

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important".. Bertrand Russell.

The burning monk is a sad image.. unenlightening to the extreme. He was too young to know what he was doing. Self sacrifice is a waste.


Solemn Reverie said...

we have a lot in common. I believe a lot of my idiosyncrasies stem from a painful, unstable and turbulent childhood and young adult life. Pain.

Shak said...

"No law can be sacred to me unless it's a law of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong is what is against it." -Ralph Emerson

I suppose I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum. I was born 'nice', complete with Disney birds in the background chirping my very own theme song.

You might not be 'nice', but you are still helping the soul of the world by burning brightly albeit possibly setting the world ablaze. :)

It always facinates me that folks are irritated with those who take a position. Why don't people get pissed at life's sideliners, the passerbys, and the standbys? The jokers who do little to nothing to add to or to push humanities' evolution?

Hazel Dooney said...

Thanks, Shak. You should see the comments I get sometimes on Facebook LOL!

joshua lance said...

I really connect with how brutally honest you are about yourself as you make individualism a religious experience. I caught your audio from the "Unconvential guide to art and money" and without sounding like a kiss-ass, it was quite refreshing to see a young artist close to my generation succeeding and doing it your way. I would like to get to that point to as well. You're a great inspiration and I'll keep tract of your art and career!

bubu said...

i never got why it is so difficult for other people to take one's reflection on ourselves. why are they compelled to qualify, offer advise, reassure, preach... is it really that hard to accept words and try to learn something new from them? and if this is not possible, just let them gooooo!
anyway and sharing the common vice, i will take a self defined "not nice" person over a self defined "nice" person any time!
"not nice" is the new "nice"

@meangrape said...

Competence is the minimum standard. Practice is the only religion. Talent is the only redemption. Perfectly, I'd only lie down with genius or depravity (preferably both).

You live a lot closer to my ideals than I do. I'd pity you if I didn't admire you. (Not that I think you care much for either).

During your almost wholly unapologetic writing, you said: "I can be a careless and inattentive friend – for that, I'm sorry..." I hope that the best of your friends -- like the best of mine -- accept your apology.