Saturday, May 2, 2009

Depression/Van Gogh

"The whore in question has more of my sympathy than my compassion.

Being a creature exiled, outcast from society, like you and me who are artists, she is certainly our friend and sister.

And in this condition of being an outcast she finds - just as we ourselves do - an independence which is not without its advantages after all, when you come to think of it. So let's beware of assuming an erroneous attitude by believing that we can do her a service by means of a social rehabilitation which for that matter is hardly practicable and would be fatal to her.

... And meanwhile I am in my own hide, and my hide within the cog-wheels of the Fine Arts, like corn between the mill-stones."
-- letters of Vincent Van Gogh

Every day I wake up at 7 and stare at the beautiful little study I set up for myself. I have everything I need to write, barring motivation and inspiration. I have an outline completed-- entirely completed in detail-- for a novella worth writing, if I could only manage to begin it properly. This period of stasis has been in effect for three weeks, and I am not exaggerating when I say it is crushing my spirit to an almost fatal degree. I am a stripper/artist creating no art at present, which means I am, right now, simply a stripper. And single. And relatively poor. At 28. Sigh.

The most difficult thing with which to reconcile myself is that I am secure in my ability to bring forth meaningful artistic output when I do work with a sense of purpose and energy, having done so before-- it is my inability to focus and make a start that is driving me utterly mad. Is it my dancing job that makes me so scattered and unfocused these days? I have a thousand beautiful words and images floating around in my perpetually exhausted brain. I have asked everyone for advice--

"Should I vary my process? What would you do?" I ask, time and again.

"Don't force it," they answer in universal consensus, often followed by:

"Maybe you need a new Muse."

Fine. Where is a reliable one to be found? After all, it's hard to know when a person, place or thing is going to suddenly be eclipsed out of one's life, or abandon one. I am here, open and waiting for the grace of God to deliver me from this state of unbearable tension. If I am created in God's own image, I must similarly be a creator, myself-- in capacity if not actuality (at present). I will pray quietly with gratitude that I have life, no matter if I am as a dam blocked by silt and rotting vegetation for the moment. Sadly, neither life nor the grace of God is granted the sensual, I am told-- I who dwell in the sensual realm more than in the temple invisible of the Holy Spirit these days. I must be the enemy of my own art. It must be so, for neither lack of God nor of opportunity is present.

This week both of my little fish died. I was feeling miserable before, but now I am also disgusted. Taking the rotting little bodies out of the tank was an ordeal. I couldn't eat and consequently felt faint at work, which was relatively very unprofitable for a Friday due to the rain pouring down in buckets.

I was propositioned by two married men in a very serious way in the span of about 16 hours, which made me sadder than ever.

I have taken to reading the letters of Van Gogh with great empathy. We apparently have much in common with a couple of minor disparities: he was a genius and actually able to produce works of art with regularity, despite his personal difficulties, whereas I am a dilettante who cannot do much except take my clothes off for money and elicit/solicit praise 24 hours a day.

Note to self: without his canvasses Van Gogh would have been just another poor, socially retarded redhead with a history of mental illness, somewhat similar to myself.

I must remember it's our work that defines us, and neurosis is never charming...