Tuesday, November 24, 2009

becoming an artist

The following is from Mark Z. Danielewski's novel "House of Leaves," upon which I commented in my previous post.

There are seven incarnations (and six correlates) necessary to becoming an Artist:

1. Explorer (Courage) -- First, you must leave the safety of your home and go into the dangers of the world, whether to an actual territory or some unexamined aspect of the psyche...

2. Surveyor (Vision) -- Next, you must have the vision to recognize your destination once you get there. Note that a destination may sometimes also be the journey...

3. Miner (Strength) -- Third, you must be strong enough to dig up facts, follow veins of history, unearth telling details...

4. Refiner (Patience) -- Fourth, you must have the patience to winnow and process your material into something rare. This may take months or even years...

5. Designer (Intelligence) -- Fifth, you must use your intellect to conceive of your material as something meaning more than its origins...

6. Maker (Experience) -- Six, you must fashion a work independent of everything that has gone before it including yourself. This is accomplished through experience...

At this stage, the work is acceptable. You will be fortunate to have progressed so far. It is unlikely, however, that you will go any farther. Most do not. But let us assume you are exceptional. Let us assume you are rare. What then does it mean to reach the final incarnation? Only this: at every stage, from 1 thru (sic) 6, you will risk more, see more, gather more, process more, fashion more, consider more, love more, suffer more, imagine more and in the end know why less means more and leave what doesn't and keep what implies and create what matters. This is what is meant by 'Artist.'

7. Artist


This resonates.


"Could they be the miners?"
--"Sure, they're, like, three years old."
"...Miners, not minors!
--"You lost me."


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