Thanks for writing this — for all the reasons you wrote it and for a whole bunch of reasons I could never adequately explain to another human being. One of my criteria for great writing is the ability to articulate something I have known or felt for a very long time and was never able to describe myself (especially if it surfaces my subconscious). Thanks for that.
One more thing. You reminded me of some of Gustav Flaubert’s wisdom:
- Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire comme un bourgeois, afin d’être violent et original dans vos œuvres. (Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.)
- Mieux vaut l’exubérance que le goût. (Exuberance is better than taste.)
[from: Without ideality, there is no grandeur; without grandeur there is no beauty. Olympus is a mountain. The most effective monument will always be the Pyramids. Exuberance is better than taste; the desert is better than a streetpavement, and a savage is surely better than a hairdresser!]
In confirming the exact wording of my recollected quotations, I discovered other words of Flaubert’s that also seem relevant:
- To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.
- For some men, the stronger their desire, the more difficult it is for them to act. They are hampered by mistrust of themselves, daunted by the fear of giving offence; besides, deep feelings of affection are like respectable women; they are afraid of being found out and they go through life with downcast eyes.
- One becomes a critic when one cannot be an artist, just as a man becomes a stool pigeon when he cannot be a soldier.
- An author in his book [or artist in his work] must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.