Bookmark #588

The first piece is an accident, and so is the second, and the third, and the tenth and the hundredth. By accident, you connect seemingly unrelated things in a way no one has before. Most leave it that, but if you keep at it, something changes. The accident becomes a habit, and from that point on, you see the world as an artist does. No one ever truly becomes an artist—it is an occupation on lease. The agreement is your consistent repetition of the accident. You must do it, and then, you must do it again. For a second, it will feel like second nature but pay heed. Do not take it for granted. The muses are your liaison to getting in, but you must honour them, for what brings you in can also kick you out. It is all about honouring the gift of the accident. All art begins and ends there.

I think of a thousand things in a day, and I record one of them. I wonder why I do this and what will happen to the rest of my thoughts. But when you do this long enough, you know all good ideas eventually return, and when they do, they are ready. Yet, it does not reduce my worry. To be an artist is equal part action and inaction. Most people fail to strike a balance altogether, and an artist, the honest kind, must not only strike it but also live alongside this struggle. And so art is equal parts accident and equal parts choice. The accident happens to most people. The first poem, the first painting shows up in their first heartbreak, in their first friendship, in the first lesson at school, in grief and in joy, in the changing of seasons and in the first drink they have in college. But the choice, the choice is rarer.

It shows rarely, and it carries a toll that is higher than most would even begin to understand. They would be too busy remembering the tale of how they got out unscathed all those years ago, conveniently leaving out how they refused to make use of the gift that landed in their lap. It will be the only thing they ever tell the world.

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