Monday, August 16, 2010

silent does not mean static

"Consider Van Gogh. Among his many problems was... the cost of pigments. He couldn't afford the pigments he wanted and turned the lemons of poverty into lemonade by adding the sugar of precedent. He wrote to his brother Theo, who paid for his supplies, 'In case you should be a bit hard up, I could manage perfectly without the expensive blues and the carmine. One tube of Prussian blue yields as much as six of ultramarine or cobalt and costs six times less. Delacroix swore by that vulgar blue and used it often.' This is a prayer to Maya, the Hindu goddess whose name translates as illusion.

"Maya is a necessary god. We must maintain illusions. We must maintain the illusion that what we create matters and that we are not pointless, discardable energy packets but creatures every bit as valuable as our best sentences seduce us into believing that we are. We must create these adaptive illusions and then believe them, even though we know that we ourselves have created them. If you want to know why Existentialists call life absurd, this is why...

"Every honest, intelligent person will see through her adaptive illusions often enough. That isn't the main problem. Suddenly writing poetry or stage plays may seem meaningless and ridiculous to you. All right. That realization isn't the danger. The danger is that you will forget that you must maintain your illusions by force of will and that this moment must be met with a hearty Of course! I always knew that about poetry! Nothing new here! You must quickly argue yourself back into the belief that poetry matters--at least to you--or face a meaning crisis in proportions you do not want to contemplate."

--Eric Maisel, A Writer's Paris

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