Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Discussion On Loneliness

An artist is always alone—if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness."

-Henry Miller (1891-1980)

I don't know that I agree with this. Shouldn't an artist be someone who is the most connected to other people and the world? Don't you need to be so in touch with the world around you, that you can comment on it?

Maybe an artist needs that distance in order to comment on life. Or maybe, since most everyone feels alone now and then, an artist's constant loneliness is really being very connected to a universal feeling.



Michelle said...

Some thoughts:

I agree with Henry Miller to an extent - I think artists ARE significantly more lonely than non-artists. What makes them lonely? I don't know. Probably the same thing that makes them wear berets and black clothing and write poetry in their journals while sipping espresso in smoky cafes.

In all seriousness though, I guess don't know why I should think creative types are lonely besides the fact that I'm a creative type and I'm often lonely. I do think artists of all kinds have to be somewhat introverted in order to be deeply in touch with their own emotions and ideas. Also, possibly, artists are instilled with a greater sense of being "different" or not being "understood" (ha) than regular people, and that this feeling of not-belonging fuels their need to express their view of the world through art or writing.

However, I also agree with you. If artists are so caught up in their own loneliness/disconnection that they are totally isolated from the rest of the world, their work probably won't be relevant. Or at least, it will be masturbatory and self-pitying. (See: my blog.) Creating art is all about expressing the many facets of the human condition, and I think it would be pretty difficult for an artist to do this adequately if he or she is completely out of touch with other people, nature, the world at large, etc.

Dunno, though.

I leave you with a T. Willy quote:

"My greatest affliction...is perhaps the major theme of my writings, the affliction of loneliness that follows me like a shadow, a very ponderous shadow too heavy to drag after me all of my days and nights."

--Tennessee Williams, 1979

A to the S said...

it may be just my opinion, but i think you write better than an english-as-a-second language illegal immigrant worker.

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