“I guess I, when I was in my twenties, like deep down underneath all the bullshit what I really believed was that the point of fiction was to show that the writer was really smart. And that sounds terrible to say, but I think, looking back, that’s what was going on. And I don’t think I really understood what loneliness was when I was a young man. And now I’ve got a much less clear idea of what the point of art is, but I think it’s got something to do with loneliness and something to do with setting up a conversation between human beings.”
…coupled with some dialog written by Cameron Crowe, from the movie “Almost Famous”, spoken by the incomparable Philip Seymour Hoffman (playing a fictionalized rock journalist Lester Bangs) to young Patrick Fugit:
Lester Bangs: Aw, man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.
William Miller: Well, it was fun.
Lester Bangs: They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool.
William Miller: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn’t.
Lester Bangs: That’s because we’re uncool. And while women will always be a problem for us, most of the great art in the world is about that very same problem. Good-looking people don’t have any spine. Their art never lasts. They get the girls, but we’re smarter.
William Miller: I can really see that now.
Lester Bangs: Yeah, great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love… and let’s face it, you got a big head start.
William Miller: I’m glad you were home.
Lester Bangs: I’m always home. I’m uncool.
William Miller: Me too!
Lester Bangs: The only true currency in this bankrupt world if what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.
…and that is my meditation on creativity for the week.
My rebellious side is asking, “Do I really have to be lonely to write? Is that really what it takes? Isn’t there a better way?”
I’m not saying I create great art. I just write. I write because I can’t not write. But I also know that I am lonely. I have good friends, awesome friends, friends for whom I would sacrifice large imponderable things. But when they’re not around, I wonder if they’re thinking of me. I feel the lack of a connection, and I know that the lack of connection begins and terminates within me and my mind. Rationally I know that that kind of connection is rare and that not everyone feels it, and yet I still feel unique in my isolation.
And so I write.
And my rebellious side is asking further, “If you are writing to start a conversation… then when do people begin to talk back?”
I have no real answer, on this cold, dark, December night. I’m probably just too tired to see the answer right in front of me.
It’s been a rough week and a long December. Maybe next year will be better than the last.
G’night for now.