Tab Earley

4 April, 2011

can happy people create good things?

Filed under: wank — Tab Earley @ 5:05 pm

A friend of mine said to me recently, “Satisfaction is not compatible with making good art.” It sounded less wanky in person, I promise. And I think, for me at least, it’s true. I write things because there’s something on my mind. It might be a real thing, or it might be a person I’ve made up and am thinking about. Case in point: the past week.

Without going too much into details, let us just say that for the last few years, I haven’t been involved with anyone. I was also writing more than I ever had before. This changed recently. I met someone, and in the glow of this newfound fun, I noticed that I did very little writing. Very little work at all. And in the context of the conversation I’d had with my friend, it became very clear to me that the moment I got that warm feeling of satisfaction, my drive to create things plummeted. I was enjoying myself, so I didn’t think about it much. But now that the shine’s rubbed off a bit, it’s clearer to me just what was happening.

Happy people don’t create interesting things. At least, I don’t. This could be because so much of my creativity is rooted in a profound sense of loneliness. I write to express what I can’t say to people. I write to escape. I write to connect. So I guess it stands to reason that when I do connect to someone, that drive disappears.  That little ache goes away, and so does the passion it creates. I think I prefer the ache.

It might be fallacious to assume a connection here. I probably can be happy and also write, but maybe I just haven’t figured out how to do it. And it’s not that I particularly enjoy wallowing in misery, either. It’s not as simple a dichotomy as happy = bad art and sad = good art. It’s just that right now, to do what I need to do, I need that little ache. I need to be dissatisfied. I need an empty space to fill with words.

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