Let's get serious now. Maybe their name doesn't paint a slacker image
but The Beets seem to be nothing better, after twice canceling engagements with Anayvelyse and Claire's radio show
. Twice I eagerly anticipated hearing great tunes, twice I looked forward to skipping Frontiers of Boring Volcanoes lecture, twice I was let down when The Beets flaked, unable to make it from Jackson to Morningside. Every "twice" coincides. Total bullshit. Meanwhile Sun Araw travels across the country to play a sick show (really sick).
Thing is it's hard to stay mad at a lazy guy. Why is that? Probably everyone's shared propensity for inertia, whereas fewer of us do drugs or fart in elevators or like stupid tv shows. It's easier to empathize. And there's also a weird image, I think, of the slacker as some cool poet. Laid-back yet sensitive and above quotidian stress. Gifted with keen eyes/ears/hands/body parts to use whenever. It's not like that's based on nothing, but people mix up correlation and causation here. Being idle has nothing to do with becoming a good artist.
There is probably an artistry that dominates mundane worries. It's all what you care about, and if subtlety of perception is your thing you probably don't worry so much about doing homework or finding a job or updating your resume. But how many other archetypes could you swap in, then? Girl becoming the fastest at her own kind of running or scientist on the verge of a huge breakthrough or guy who loves to travel or little kid who reviews movies on Youtube or senior who wants to explore her town before leaving for college or dad starting to brew his own beer. They all care about stuff. Things that they like to do and if they're not being lazy just because, then they're doing it.
The problem with artists is that their work isn't very tangible. Art creates a bunch of unfortunate reasons for this. The seed is in the mind (heart if you like to think that), not in an instruction manual or a physical trainer or a bunch of bricks. It's hard to figure out where to start. You may look at an artist and see nothing. We're not like, where's his hammer? He should get back to work! There's a lot of invisibility with them. Take a peek at their notebooks and you won't know what's going on. Some musicians don't even know how to write music. And so when you see them just sitting there strumming guitars or drawing or whatever, it's easy to assume they're kind of messing around. And maybe they are. But you can't know. I won't go into this too much, but art, in having so much trial/error and focusing on creativity more than anything, can seem unexpressive until it does.
The poison is to assume artists aren't trying. Never do that. True work can seem like just an aimless attempt. Montaigne's Essais
are literally attempts. At lucidity of expression. Honest efforts to do what he needs. That's what everyone tries to do: what they need. For whatever reason, some may not produce a lot but you if you don't know them you can't accuse them of not trying. So I made a mistake, I'll rescind my accusations and hope that the Beets really did try to get to the radio show but met some obstacles (according to them one of the members had personal problems and had to stay up late).
Once we start to associate artistry at all with insouciance we're hampering this extremely necessary thing. Maybe there is "talent" that blesses some with an easy start but I am so sure that can be translated to about an extra ~10-20 hours of practice total. I read some article. Seems Mozart wasn't that great as a kid; Mendelssohn was better. They both had early starts. Whatever. Both died young.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE. If you can get paid for that thing you've lost another fake reason not to. You probably think I'm idealizing. I don't know what a truly hard life is, I have a rich dad, my family helped me so much, etc. yes but I'm not being that fanciful. Probably like 1/8 as much as you think. This message maybe doesn't apply for some people in the world but I bet not you. This is a blog on the internet. Think of anything one could possibly love. What has no possible starting point?
This is an attempt, more to help myself than you, really. Montaigne told the reader there's no reason to read his Essais
. Obviously that's not true because he published it, but I'm guessing he saw what he wrote to save himself and knew its value to other people. So I hope it's like that with this. I'm writing it for myself--why else? If it didn't help me in some way I'd have no desire. Like I said, do what you love.
I need this advice and logic as much as anyone. My happiness has been defined by my perceived ability to do what I love. I still make the mistake--so, so much--of doubting my ability to try. So I be lazy. Pare my losses, sacrificing the erratic good for the steady okay. Meanwhile I'm burned inside when I imagine what's possible. I'm afraid to miss. Afraid to take the wrong path. But how many people take wrong turns to end up never getting there? Those who do are ashamed they gave up. Can't imagine, must pursue. With all your heart.
By the way, I don't believe one bit in wearing things out. I mean, it can happen, but there is never a ultimately regrettable consequence. You don't listen to the great song once, you put it on repeat. When there are no perceived cons I don't know why you wouldn't go ahead, full throttle. "I don't want to make it a job" is crap. Why not? You want to keep it fun? It's fun now, go for it. If you get tired it's not like you don't want anything more. And n.b. I said "no perceived cons" it's not like I'm telling you to write radio jingles if you're into music.
No one needs an excuse for laziness. Stop romanticizing it right now. "Slacker artists" still do something. Maybe the thing to ask yourself now is what you love. It's easy not to think about this. Is it really fame? $$$? It's maybe something even more abstract if you really consider it. What is it, like materialization of your emotions? Good, there a bunch of ways you can reach that. You have choices; you can choose.