Monday, February 14, 2022

the role of the artist


I went through decades of therapy for depression, and remember almost none of it, but I clearly remember this one exchange. 

I was seeing a therapist once a week in an office in Jackson, Wyoming. I sat across from her and tried to express my anguish. I went around and around, struggling to convey the core issue. 

Finally I said, “I don’t fit in this world, I don’t see it the way everyone else does.” 

She said, “Yes, but that’s the role of the artist.”

I don't want this post to come across as a downer. I've been doing very well for the last decade and I don't want anyone to worry about me. What I wanted to convey is that I'm taking this seriously—the role of the artist—where I once would have shied away from it. 



Chris said...

Just keep carrying on carrying on Mike... that's all we can do... all is not lost ... there are lonely nights but there are also sunny days... it is all slowly getting somewhere ... you know, it does seem Back to the Future is about 9/11 but it is also a fun 80s comedy :-) You cannot make this shit up...

jane said...

Hi Mike,

I am not an experiencer but have a strange and strong compulsion to read, listen, explore everything I can get my hands on about the other/visitors/aliens/ufo etc for the last 30 years. I don't know where the drive came from or why but as I have heard you and many of your interviewees use the word "compelled" I can relate. I have often wondered if apart from experiencers, my compulsion is another layer of this phenomenon as we are being prepared by them! for something more.
Also, just a thank you for your very thoughtful interview style; your great questions and obvious respect and kindness. I'm hungry for respectful interchange on these topics (actually in any discourse).
Thank you and miss your voice.
Jane J

Red Pill Junkie said...

If only artists were more respected (I mean, besides actors and rappers) maybe the burden of seeing the world from a different perspective wouldn't be so heavy.

Anonymous said...


Anthony Z said...

YES! Seeing the world a little differently. It's our job. Own it and embrace it!

Corvinus said...

Miguel (Red Pill Junkie),

Artists shouldn't really expect to have the 'respectability' common to other professions. The artist archetype is anti-structural and respectability is very much the opposite of that - you can't have it both ways if you choose the path of the artist. The artist exists largely in the world of freeform ideas and it is their wont to express those ideas to inspire others in a variety of ways. But often those ideas area vague, ill-conceived, impractical or just downright crazy. It is often up to the 'non-artists' to take an inspiration and make practical use or application of it.
Put another way, you don't put an artist in charge of feeding the village because they aren't the right personality for that role. He/she might get bored of it halfway through and give up or might decide that everyone should become a fruitarian because anything else would be cruel to living things or some other cockamamie idea.
Of course it's a spectrum and there are those that straddle both sides ( Leonardo comes to mind...the original, not the turtle) but I think that's generally why 'respectability' is and always will be out of reach.

Elvee Kaye said...

I have never, ever felt like I belong anywhere. Everything seems foreign to me, people are impossible to figure out, nothing matters very much, everything we learned about history and science is a lie, and the news is full of stories that I find difficult to believe. I used to worry that I didn't feel that sense of belonging that so many others seem to feel, but now it doesn't bother me. Life is a stage production, and I now have a sense of what the ending will be, if not the specifics. I'm just sticking around to watch the rest of the show unfold.