I’ve been doing this for years and year. Whenever anyone asks me what I do, I never tell them I am an artist. It’s not like I am being secretive or lazy. I’m really glad to be asked. But I forget. I literally forget because it never enters my mind. Or it might be the last thing to enter my mind but the conversation is over before I have the chance to mention it.
Because I only think of myself as an artist while I am in the act of making art. That is the only time I can say that I am an artist. Otherwise I am claiming something I am not. I am grateful for the 1% of my life I can say I am an artist. It’s a very quiet 1%. It doesn’t shout at you, so I guess that’s a good thing. Leave the shouting to others. And if they have something that truly needs to be shouted, more power to them. Although I’d prefer to be somewhere they are not.
So what/who am I if I’m not an artist? That’s the billion dollar question. In my non-artist life, I am 99% styrofoam, 1% water. Or maybe I am 99% water but my soul is 100% styrofoam. When the Buddha said, very considerately, “May all sentient beings be free from suffering. May all sentient beings enjoy happiness.” I wonder if at that time objects made of styrofoam were seen as sentient. Maybe there was some confusion at that time because sentient beings might be seen meditating upon styrofoam cushions and the boundaries between sentient and styrofoam were not as defined as they are today.
But I can say for sure that as a non-artist, I am not sentient. Not a living breathing organism, but filler material. There’s really not much more to explain. I have no thoughts or feelings or desires, no peaks or valleys, nothing connected to a psyche. These words I write are filler material and I always feel a bit fraudulent when people construe my fillers as thoughts.
Were I something other than styrofoam, I might feel compelled to correct them, but that’s simply impossible for all of us who are devoid of feeling. So I guess I just let them think what they want and summon the will I do not have to accept it. Theres’s really not that much more I can do.
How I became sytrofoam is another story entirely. But unfortunately that would require the sentient capability of memory. So it’s important for me to remind you that I am not memory foam. We are completely unrelated, although we are sometimes confused. Just to clarify, we are are not the ones who are confused. We will leave confusion to the sentient.
As a non-artist, I feel a thud instead of a heartbeat. And even louder thuds in place of thoughts. The days pass by as one thud after another until one day the thudding stops which can only mean one of two options.
- I am either making art.
- I am dead.
In option 1, I am grateful to be given another chance to be both sentient and alive. Those are days to savor.
In option 2, I get very clingy. Clinging desperately to reclaim all of those wasted moments when I was taking option 1 for granted.
This has gotten way too complicated. I simply wanted to say that I have been in a styrofoam state of non-being for so many days, I’ve lost sight of how I can be anything else. That still doesn’t really clarify things for anyone who still wonders what it is exactly that I do. But it’s really not that big an issue since most of the time nobody knows I’m even here.