Writing and Irritants
This one rambles.
At the Swancon panel on ‘staying creative’, Charles de Lint admitted he’d wanted to be a musician. The times weren’t right for the music he liked to play, however, so he went into writing. (You’ve heard of writing, right? Crazy little fallback gig that it is … ;).
Both Terry Dowling and Richard Harland also admitted to musical pasts, and then artist extraordinaire Sean Tan said he’d wanted to be a writer, but wound up in art instead.
Art, he said, is great at mood, but not as great at narrative. So he still writes, but mainly he’s known as an artist.
It got me thinking about the importance of dissatisfaction to artists.
Someone once told me an excellent trait for a stand-up comedian is the ability to be easily irritated. It’s by taking an irritating event and milking it for all its angst, & then adding humour, that the best comedy is born. I remember that idea every time I watch Seinfeld.
Can’t we just get rid of wine lists? Do we really have to be reminded every time we go out to a nice restaurant that we have no idea what we are doing? Why don’t they just give us a trigonometry quiz with the menu?
— Jerry Seinfeld
Seems to me these are two sides to the same coin, two levels to the same game. It is the niggling grain of sand that leads to the pearl. It is the simple irritations of a day that lead to self-expression. It is an overall dissatisfaction with life that keeps us going as artists.
If I had my choice of all the talents, & could have only one, I think I would choose a crystal clear singing voice. This may astonish those of you who know anything about my musical tastes. It surprises even me, since I always figure myself for one of the least musically-interested people I know, but there it is. There are probably half a dozen talents or abilities I would choose over writing if I thought about it, but singing is the first one that leapt to mind. In a strange way, being irritated — having that mild level of disappointment — doesn’t bother me. I kinda appreciate it. It’s kinda useful.
Though there are a certain number of ratbags, most of whom who were at Swancon this week, who can NOT take this as permission to be EVEN MORE irritating to Deb, thank-you VERY much (you know who you are!). I mean it, you!
Happily, disappointedly yours,