- the occasional blog of André Hansson

The Curse of the Artistically Driven?

Culture and EntertainmentPosted by André Hansson Wed, December 21, 2011 11:08:24

Beethoven first mentioned his hearing loss in 1801, at the tender age of thirty. He was having trouble hearing the high notes of instruments and voices. In 1812 people had to shout to make themselves heard and by 1827 his hearing loss was total.

This, a major disability for someone wanting to compose music, didn't stop Beethoven from doing what he was put here to do. He simply adapted, started using more middle- and low-frequency notes. When he was completely deaf he relied soley on his inner ear.

He never gave up, probably because he couldn’t. The practising of artistic talent is not a choice, it's a compulsion. I'm sure most of you artistically talented people out there agree with me. You have no choice but to give in to your artistry. Life would be pointless without it. Nothing will hold you back, whether it be injury, illness, handicaps (like in Beethoven's case), economic realities, lack of commercial success or whatever. It's not up to you.

In the 1981 movie Who's life is it anyway? Richard Drefyuss's character battles with unsympathetic hospital staff to end his own life after an accident that would'nt let him sculpt anymore. His life was meaningless without being able live out these artistic compulsions.

As a libertarian and an artist alike, I find this compulsion doubly disturbing. I don't like to be forced to do things, not by others, not by government, not even by myself! My own artistic ambitions is holding me capture, coercing me to keep creating! Ironic isn't it? Sometimes I actually wish I didn't have this unrelenting urge to write, or to compose music, or draw. Why can't I just be one of the non-driven, content with joining the rat race, enjoying working some office gig, raising children, watching Reality shows on Friday nights, scratching my bellybutton and think happily that this is what life is all about? It would be so much simpler than to continually having to find ways around economic realities to find time and resources to create. I envy these people because they seem to be free of the destructive self-loathing artists feel when they can't create.

Having creative gifts is a blessing. There is nothing more satisfying than creating. But it's also a prison. And the sentence is for life. There’s not even a parole.

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