And it dawned on me that I might have to change my inner thought patterns… that I would have to start believing in possibilities that I wouldn’t have allowed before, that I had been closing my creativity down to a very narrow, controllable scale… that things had become too familiar and I might have to disorientate myself. p.71
Sometimes you’re looking for the answers, for a reason - really struggling toward understanding everything, all at once, from all angles and in every conceivable dimension, which is of course an impossible task. Other times you just exist in a stupur of fascination. You notice things. You stay aware.
When an artist murders their awareness, or allows someone else to murder it for them, they’re finished. So you have to keep your eyes open, you just keep on trying to feel your way through things and grope toward whatever it is your reaching for without having any idea what that is until you see it. Which is to say, until you put it down on paper or however else it is you choose to put it down, and make art. It’s not the echo of your thinking, it is it’s own mutant entity, it’s own alien life-form.
That’s what making art is: the creation of a new species of mutant-alien bastard children with a life of their own, that go on to spawn others of their kind. Tiny Frankensteins are being birthed in the minds of artists throughout the whole living, breathing universe at this moment, as I think.
But even the wisest among you, he is only a discord and hybrid of ghost and of plant. But do I bid you to become ghosts or plants?
Is there any possible formula to follow in order to be a good novelist?
Ninety-nine percent talent … ninety-nine percent discipline … ninety-nine percent work. He must never be satisfied with what he does. It never is as good as it can be done. Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. An artist is a creature driven by demons. He don’t know why they choose him and he’s usually too busy to wonder why. He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done.
Do you mean the writer should be completely ruthless?
The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.
Then could the lack of security, happiness, honor, be an important factor in the artist’s creativity?
No. They are important only to his peace and contentment, and art has no concern with peace and contentment.
Then what would be the best environment for a writer?
Art is not concerned with environment either; it doesn’t care where it is.
So the only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost. All the wrong environment will do is run his blood pressure up; he will spend more time being frustrated or outraged. My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.
What I know, what is certain, what I cannot deny, what I cannot reject - this is what counts. I can negate everything of that part of me that lives on vague nostalgias, except this desire for unity, this longing to solve, this need for clarity and cohesion. I can refute everything in this world surrounding me that offends or enraptures me, except this chaos, this sovereign chance and this divine equivalence which springs from anarchy. I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I do not know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it.
Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus (via albertbeauchardcamus)
But what do you know about me, given that I believe in secrecy, that is, in the power of falsity, rather than in representing things in a way that manifests a lamentable faith in accuracy and truth? If I stick where I am, if I don’t travel around, like anyone else I make my inner journeys that I can only measure by my emotions, and express very obliquely and circuitously in what I write.
Gilles Deleuze, from Letter to a Harsh Critic (via litafficionado)
We cannot defeat race prejudice by proving that it is wrong. The reason for this is that race prejudice is only a symptom of a materialistic social fact. The white man’s ideas about his racial superiority are deeply rooted in the social system and it can be corrected only by changing the system itself.
Oliver Cox’s magisterial 1948 study Class, Caste, and Race
Every talent must unfold itself in fighting.
― Friedrich Nietzsche
It is the mark of an educated mind, to entertain a thought without accepting it
Aristotle (via nofatnowhip)