Failed Artist Talks About Being a Failed Artist

The older I get, the more okay I am with doing nothing with my life, artistically or otherwise. I’ve come to learn too late that success in an artistic field is just a product of hard ball business tactics, and the creativity is auxiliary to any form of hard currency. The small victories are exactly that: small, and sometimes barely even victories. A bunch of wailing babies screaming out in a sea hoping to be heard but merely adding to the cluttered din of a thousand failed artists.

I’m not even mad at whatever marketing asshole instilled me with the desire to get rich off of creative endeavors, crafts and other things that my mother should have told me were just hobbies, and art school is a sham. This is true for anybody who isn’t comfortably middle class or better based solely on their ability to cash in on their “art.” 

Which brings me to the “why” of it all, because even though I know that this is going nowhere, I still write every day, and post every day, and tweet fairly frequently, and I put up stickers sometimes, too, which did cost a bit of money, but the honest to goodness truth is just another diluted aphorism built into the glamorous facade of “this is what it means to be an artist.” (You know what I’m talking about – I’m sure you can remember the first time you saw a picture of a famous writer/musician/painter passed out on some soot stained couch high on drugs and surrounded by high class fuckables and then you thought, “That’s what I want!” They sell posters of it at Amoeba.) Writing is just the last thing that brings me pleasure nowadays, after all the alcohol and the cocaine and heroin and the sex and the parties and the adrenaline highs of feeling like I’m doing something with myself have petered back into the normal ebb and flow of casual clinical depression. It brings me pleasure in the smallest places and in the smallest ways, the delirious delight of stringing together a few rickety words, on top of which I can build an idea like a pyramid and words that whip around, whispering sweet sibilance like candy, heavy sugar. That is what makes me happy, doing that over and over and over again, until every idea is piled up into a cohesive paragraph, each paragraph cascading down after paragraph after paragraph, building pages like mountains into some toothsome feast of do you understand what I’m saying? Have you taken the idea and have you thought about it? Did you feel something? At the very least, did you feel something? Chew on it. Give yourself the gift of the image of a tongue licking white pearly teeth camped right below the red ripe lips, and then licking, and then licking, and the sweetness on your teeth after eating ice cream kicking back down tired taste buds, and the image of that tongue licking teeth, and the sugar slipping down – it’s so sweet, can’t you taste it? The curves of the spoon and the cold of the steel, or the metal, or whatever, and the tingle of your tongue as it rubs down hunting for every last morsel, and then you lick your teeth again, filtering back down into the grooves and the wish they were whiter pearly whites. It’s the taste of your own spit swashing around inside. 

That’s why I write. So you can taste it, and even if it’s just one person, it doesn’t matter, because here you are, eyes gnashing on letters into words, and did you feel it? Have you felt it yet? 

And even if no one reads this, really, who cares, because I feel it, and it’s this feeling that makes me happy. More than the drugs and more than the sex and more than the attention and more than the money that’s crooning inside my wallet and begging to be spent, it’s the act of putting these words down on “paper” right now that makes me feel better about everything else in my life that isn’t making me happy, and I don’t even care about how pathetic that is, and how lonely that is, and how utterly fucking miserable it is to try to say something beautiful only to have no one hear it fade away without a whimper. It’s the only option I have right now, and I don’t even suffer in my day to day life, so I’m going to smile. I’m going to stop right here and smile, because I’ve already accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish by picking up the pen and writing today.

I’m living in a city full of failed artists, and somehow the property values have systematically increased over time, which leads me to believe that we’ve been doing it wrong this whole time, and that maybe real estate is a more valid form of art than visual mechanics. I’m not even complaining about it, I’m just making some casual observations after the fact.