Silver spoons make giddy sounds
(after Kitchenette Building)
Money has a sick thumping sound, bass that makes the gums bleed, it’s witchcraft, it’s universally understood. Between us there is nothing. Then there’s the sculpture of capitalism – cash – say it – cash. A hushing sound. Rich jealousy chokes with a hideous purity. There is no self-control; tailored suits, Italian leather shoes, see a show, see seven, holiday in Europe, go to Moscow, snap pictures among the homeless, the heartbroken, ride the chained elephants in Bali, pat a tiger in India, photograph the natives, don’t recognise the absurdity of cigars for cigars sake. You don’t smoke but hate to seem uncultured – skinny bastard, each parent competing for love, the Xbox, the laptops, and the stupid red sports car. God! We’d die to have half the cash you ungrateful squandering ass, my god! Spare us the green eyes – my god, you disgust us. I’m thinking of buying a house in Sydney, nothing flash, just a renovator’s dream with high ceilings, a fireplace if I can. No brain for science or mathematics, lord knows we’ll die as tramps. Worlds away we’re just as ungrateful, but in this town we’re on the lower rung, it’s hard for us, it’s hard not to look at you with daddy’s silver spoon and hate your fucking guts.
Guggi, aside from having a kickass name, is an artist and the founder of an avant-garde band called the Virgin Prunes. He is one of nine, lives in Dublin and owns a bunch of reptiles – what’s not to love? Here he talks discipline and art (video courtesy of the brilliant people at BigThink). And if all that doesn’t float your creative boat then I have just one word for you. Accent.
No one could say that Andy Goldsworthy is not a patient man.
Imagine how many attempts he made at the above sculpture. Imagine how many times it cracked, crumbled and fell over before he wiggled all those pieces of slate into precisely the right position for the structure to hold together.
Now I don’t know about you but I have the creative patience of your average sparrow. If it’s too difficult, too laborious or too painful – there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll get distracted by something shiny or walk off in a huff. I know many of you are the same (don’t lie to me, my fragile artist ego can’t take it).
You sit there and somewhere between “Once upon…” and page six you get up and ‘take a break’ or suddenly get the soul crushing desperation for a beverage even though you’ve consumed enough coffee to kill you, your house mate, and your sleeping cat.
Maybe you suddenly realise that your window sills are dusty or remember that there are cookies in the cupboard. Or perhaps, it’s suddenly too cold write such nonsense at 3pm on a Saturday, and maybe you should experience some of this fantastic ‘outside’ that everyone’s so mad about.
What ever your troubles, spare a thought for ol’ Goldsworthy, who routinely pins together leaves with freakin’ thorns or spends hours sorting hundreds of pebbles into different shades so that he can arrange them into this:
So what’s the point? As writers we can learn a lot from sculptors like Andy Goldsworthy. Whether it’s a new appreciation of texture, pattern, or perhaps a renewed focus on perseverance, every writer can take something from Goldsworthy’s work.
For example, Goldsworthy likes to let nature dictate his medium, autumn yields leaves, winter yields snow and so on. As a result his work reflects the mood of the particular place in which he works. His art has a cyclic feel to it, every object seems to inform the environment and vice versa, giving the impression that his pieces grew out of nature themselves.
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what writer’s aspire to do? Write something so artful that it looks and feels organic?
There’s also a lesson in freedom there, or rather, the ability to let go and let the piece just be what it is. I’m not dissolving into existentialism here. What I mean is giving in to the process. Letting the art use you to create itself. The project you begin may not look anything like the finished product. Part of writing is exploring the options open to you, surrendering the pen to what works and not what you would like to work.
The other part is trying to convince yourself that the idea has weight to start with, and that you really should persevere with it instead spending your time on a blog lecturing other people on perseverance.
Stop Press: Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steven Stucky takes inspiration from Andy Goldsworthy work. Click here to peruse.