Sometimes artists abandon conventional wisdom in the mundane aspects of their lives. Lolita and Blind Monk, in their recent collaborative dialogue, were exploring this phenomena.
“Why is it, Lolita asked, “that in our creative lives, where the risk taking has so much upside, so little downside, we chase the accepted and acceptable? In our mundane walk, where so much conventional wisdom is available to sustain us best for those precious creative hours, we defiantly step outside the line, make our bold statements of individuality.”
Blind Monk listened, even as he continued arranging his prayer mat and shrine icons (which he brought stateside with him). Lolita continued, “Take the old school American jazz artists. Their personal lives were rife with self-destructive behaviors – drug and alcohol use, abusive relationships. Even with my beauty, Monk, it is so much easier just to hypnotize the man when I want some company, rather than work at building true rapport, let alone anything resembling love. What is this tendency about, Monk”
Monk’s smile was gentle, expressed empathy. This was no theoretical issue for our Thai acolyte. After all, he was a musician as well as a monk. He grew up on backstreets in bad Bangkok. He knew about self-destructive behaviors. “The reality for many of us,” Monk began, is that the creative project takes some time to bloom. My gopichant technique comes from years of practice in solitude. Your longer compositions, Lolita, can take months to complete. The much desired gratification from finished work, and from sharing that work, is infrequent. But we need an ego shot today. Perhaps non-conformance in our mundane walk offers the opportunity for a little daily recognition, a little id stroking,” Monk speculated. “Who can blame the artist for compensating with short cuts in other aspects of life. Impulsive behavior. Junk food. A chaotic environment. Paid companionship. Quick fixes and avoidance in the “non-creative” areas of our life feels justified somehow by the extreme commitment, in time and intensity, necessary for our creative work, on the one hand, and the infrequent recognition for that work on the other.”
Lolita could listen to her new Thai friend for hours. She felt no judgement from Blind Monk. She knew of his own struggle, his own success in growing out of egocentric and self-destructive behaviors. She heard in his rich gopichant music the profound, positive impact of self-mastery. Of course Lolita tends to minimize, if not forget altogether, her own achievements in the area of self-control. It is no small thing to wrestle with the cravings of her Race. The passion she manages so well is deeply invested in her music.
Of course there is always room to grow, to explore aspects of our lives which could nurture more.
Blind Monk counsels, “Gentle baby steps.”