Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dangerous Degradation 5/31/09

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.

Arthur Conan Doyle
I beseech thee, join me.
One of the worst forms of imprisonment, in my opinion, is to be stuck in surroundings that offer nothing but old, worn out, inane and recycled ways of thinking. We that live all deserve to be always in the presence of inspiration, curiosoty and appreciation of the best. Why aren't we?

The typhoons of life rock the boat so severely that the desperate wish is to be calm in the water. That's normal. And it's a great relief when the storm is over. That's when the trouble starts. Rather than risk another storm we put into a safe harbor and stay there, never venturing out to taste the joys of the journey. Not facing and surviving the storms of life we have no idea what we are capable of. Not using the opportunities we can be given we never express our own talents to ourselves. The talents get buried under the ground like pathetic seeds and what grows out is mediocrity.

One of my art teachers, Marshall Glazier, an inspiring and humorous old curmudgeon, came into class one day and said "What's the difference between talent and genius?" A few people offered various opinions and Glazier finally said "Alright I'll tell you so that you'll know. A man of talent does what he can. A genius does what he MUST." Someone said "That's very good." Glazier said "You think that's good? I got it out of a fortune cookie."

I'm no genius, but I am a man of talent (at least that's what they paid me for for 50 years). It's a dangerous and scary thing to live off of your talent, but it is much more dangerous not to. Because I was out there in the storm I did recognize genius when I saw it. I even had the chance to work close to it a few times. If you do that once or twice you begin to recognize the spider web of mediocrity that you can get tangled up in if you're not careful.

"How you gonna' keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paris?" goes the old song. Dig up your talent if you buried it somewhere, use it, even if it's just a simple gift for crafting something and as soon as you see that it pleases people and moves you, you will start thinking about how to do it better or what to do next, you will be noticing how the geniuses do it, and part time or full time, congratulations, you're an artist and there is nothing mediocre about you.

Even if your talents lie in other non-artistic directions, the same rules apply. Trade in the old safe but worn out ideas about yourself and go for some risky rewards.

Make it a happy day for somebody.


Silver said...

:) You always do have so much wisdom to share!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Love the typhoon and safe harbor analogies. Nothing ventured nothing gained is one of the mottos I try to live by :o)

Big Mark 243 said...

Ditto Ken ... and you, because I try to make it a happy day for those I meet!!

Indigo said...

If I had never ventured out I would still be enclosed within my home a prisoner to my deafness. I think we have to make ourselves be a part of the world around us, instead of letting it hold us down or back. (Hugs)Indigo