Sunday, February 1, 2015
What I want to see
Someone that I can't remember surely once said that the artist creates what they long to see in the world and yet cannot find. If no one has said it yet then I tap dibs on it now and eagerly look forward to being anthologized in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.
Maybe, if I'm going to be anthologized, I shouldn't use the word "artist", which is a curiously sloppy word sometimes meaning strictly the visual arts, and sometimes meaning a person making art of any kind; music, writing, and so on. So, because I write, I will try this alternate for Bartlett's:
The writer creates what they long to see in the world and yet cannot find.
Whoa, that might be too good for Bartlett's. That might be so good it can go on twitter! Does anyone know who I talk to about submitting material to twitter?
Which brings me to my point in all of this.
Or it brings me to the beginning of this blog post.
Or it brings me to just before the beginning of this blog post because I have one more thing to say before we begin. Have you ever noticed how I start most of my blog posts before the beginning of my blog post?
I have noticed this. I call it a jogging start. Aspiring writers, take note of this technique. It allows you to approach the starting line already winded, which means you can create works made up entirely of one short, desperate sprint.
Which brings me for sure this time to my point:
I love every kind of art there is. I read poetry, listen to music, and get excited about looking at paintings. My wife and I watched an Advanced Art Movie the other night and loved it, even if we traditionally go for romantic comedies. I like simple novels written for eight year olds, and I like novels so sophisticated and difficult that I can't read them. All I can do is just hold them a lot and stare confusedly at an occasional sentence.
In other words, I get around.
But day to day, what I look for the most in all my ceaseless art wanderings, are short, dense, humorous, absurd, personal, profound, and silly essays, the kind that might make me snort out my nose for an involuntary half second, or that might make me think about them for a bit. I like them to take maybe five minutes tops to read. A few minutes is perfect. But I will spend countless hours searching them out. I wander through my library looking. I read non-fiction books and find a bit here, a bit there. I take out of context passages from novels and try to transform these little sections to complete things in my head. I roam the Internet, admittedly occasionally distracted by videos of cats falling down, but ever seeking, wandering, sifting, searching. While shelving, everything I read is read in three minute spurts. Every magazine, book, scrap of paper, product label, newspaper, e-mail, website, is examined for just this kind of essay.
I admit I do not never find one. They are out there, on the Internet, in books. Fish Whistle by Daniel Pinkwater is mostly made of these, and I just stumbled upon some this morning in a chapter of one of Anthony Bourdain's food memoir books. But how rare they are! What a fluke to find one! And so I search and search. I find other things, beautiful things, but when it's time for me to write, I try to fill the sad and terrible space, this place for these short essays, a whole row of books not written, the blank pages of a thousand magazines, a thin and printless thursday section of the Newspaper. I try to fill my favorite website, bigger than Facebook, and all empty.
Do I wish a world of mini essays existed already so that I would not be compelled to write them? It is a moot point, too simple for that. What I want is not here, and so I must try my best to make it.