Chetta believed that most people who worked in the arts were high-functioning schizophrenics, and she was no different.
Art is that thing having to do only with itself – the product of a successful attempt to make a work of art. Unfortunately, there are no examples of art, nor good reasons to think that it will ever exist. (Everything that has been made has been made with a purpose, everything with an end that exists outside that thing, i.e., I want to sell this, or I want this to make me famous and loved, or I want this to make me whole, or worse, I want this to make others whole.) And yet we continue to write, paint, sculpt and compose. Is this foolish of us?
You know what talent is? The curse of expectation. As a kid you have to deal with that, beat it somehow. If you can write, you think God put you on earth to blow Shakespeare away. Or if you can paint, maybe you think – I did – that God put you on earth to blow your father away.
Readers have a loyalty that cannot be matched anywhere else in the creative arts, which explains why so many writers who have run out of gas can keep coasting anyway, propelled on to the bestseller lists by the magic words AUTHOR OF on the covers of their books.
According to Maslow, I was stuck on the second level of the pyramid, unable to feel secure in my health and therefore unable to reach for love and respect and art and whatever else, which is, utter horseshit: The urge to make art or contemplate philosophy does not go away when you are sick. Those urges just become transfigured by illness. Maslow’s pyramid seemed to imply I was less human than other people, and most people seemed to agree with him.
The artist, and particularly the poet, is always an anarchist in the best sense of the word. He must heed only the call that arises within him from three strong voices: the voice of death, with all its foreboding, the voice of love and the voice of art.