‘….when i was a child everybody was always shitting on the poet. The artist. They said the poet is pussy. The artist is soft. And, most of them were. I kept on writing, not because i was so good, because they were bad.’
This was a drunk Charles Bukowski, articulating his thoughts to a guy behind a camera. The video is ‘Bukowski reads Bukowski: Artbound Episode’. One of his few videos on youtube. I watched it yesterday.
A few days ago a young girl killed herself in the town of Kota, Rajsthan, India. She had qualified for IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), which is a big fucking deal for the folks who want to ‘make’ their kids engineers. Yes. Make. We kids in poor countries don’t have much choice in terms of ‘be’.
The girl didn’t want to be an engineer. .So, she jumped from a building, after qualifying for a college, people will kill for to get into. Hell, i would have killed two or three, once upon a time, to get into that shit. (Trust me i’ve been made to suffer a lot. I was in Kota too, a town well known for IIT “preparation”. i gave up after 15 days of physics.)
Apparently, the District Magistrate of the city or some such officer, wrote an open letter on facebook to all parents so keen on MAKING. The letter especially mentioned the kid’s command over the “English” language. A whole nation of Facebookers mourned the death of a “to-be artist”. Maybe she considered herself an artist. Maybe she did not.Maybe she didn’t want to do anything. Just sit on her ass and kill flies. But she killed herself because she did not have the stomach to say it,whatever it was she wanted to be. She was good enough to qualify an exam that would make Picasso piss his pants before you can Guernica. But, she was not good enough to ‘make it’.
She jumped off of fifth floor of a building and killed herself. I do not know her. I do not know her circumstances. But, i know one thing, that she was not living. She killed a corpse, not a “would be artist”. That is the truth i know.
Today i read a short story. It said,’ As she came home with the news of becoming a doctor, her folks broke into tears. An artist died silently inside, among smiles and backslapping’. Some shit like that. Very fucking moving.
No. Artists don’t die. They don’t die before they start living. That is a pathetic thing to propagate. As Bukowski said, they are not soft. You are not an artist if you are soft. The spit of the world, the shit it takes on your dreams is the part of goddamn process. It is what makes the artist. It will manure your desperation, while you are miserable doing what they force you to do. You will learn to see. You will learn to speak. You will have something to write about or sing about or paint. Something original. Something visceral. Something which is yours only, and no one can take it from you.
Embrace the pain, the mockery, the neglect, the indifference, their sodden stupidity. Catch everything they throw at you, and throw it back until you break their thick fucking skulls. Do not kill yourself. A corpse is good for nothing. People will accept our demise, they always do, but they will never respect it. Because they don’t give a shit. Nobody is going to learn from that splatter on road. It shall be washed away. But, not your struggle. Not the fight. Not your goddamn dance of life. Not even your fucking defeat. Nobody will wipe that out.
‘Make it baby, make it’ as one ugly, drunk, poorly dressed, californian fuckface liked to say. He was an artist. He would never die.