Lately, I can’t stop thinking about the nature of existence. I mean, it’s fucked up if you think about it, have you ever? We’re just like a fish bowl, you know, the little ones for fucking goldfish or betas or whatever—my friend used to have a beta, it would eat all the other fishes we put in with it… we would take bets on how long they would last before they became a sort of Silence of the Lambs style sushi… we’re JUST like a little fucking fish bowl, sitting on some snot-nosed kid’s desk (the kind of kid whose OCD parents eat Xanax for breakfast and think having a dog in the house is just too messy), but walk down the stairs, past the “open-concept modern blah blah bullshit modernist kitchen/living room”, out the door, and down the block and what do you see? A fucking OCEAN… Did you know that we still haven’t figured out what dwells at the depths of our oceans? Our world is a grain of sand on the beach and we’re still not even familiar with our own grain… We might be as insignificant as the fish bowl in size, but surely not in being… We are billions strong, spawned from the most perfect coincidental accident, interwoven in degrees of separation throughout time and space; we ponder the beautiful, form unions, deceive, invent, destroy, and dream… Or are we? We could be as meaningless as the fish bowl that sits on the desk of your distant cousin’s neighbor’s friend’s snot-nosed little kid; you are as indifferent to that as the universe is to you.
I love re-reading books. I always pick so much more up the second time around. I just finished reading one of my favorite books A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce and I am once again finding myself thinking intensely about my path as an artist. The novel is written in a stream-of-consciousness style and goes through the life of Stephen Dedalus from boy to man. As a whole, the book is sort of hard to digest, and you’ll spend a lot of time on one page, but definitely worth the read. Stephen’s journey to an artist begins as a boy at Clongowes Wood College, he later transfers to Belvedere College after having to leave Clongowes because of financial constraints. The book has strong connotations of religion, as Stephen is taught by the Jesuits, and on track to become a priest. He excels at Belvedere, but there he discovers his love for prostitutes. At the urges of his parents, he returns to the church after straying, but after seeing a beautiful girl, he decided he must describe her beauty. He decides to leave Ireland to be an artist. A beautiful quote from the book is
The ambition which he felt astir at times in the darkness of his soul sought no outlet.
Thinking about ones path to an artist is interesting, as it varies so much from artist to artist. Stephen Dedalus’ path stems from the strife in contradiction and the detriment of hypocrisy on his soul. If you think about it, the path to an artist is never-ending as the artist is constantly growing and evolving with every experience that sparks inspiration. When can one consider oneself an artist? I guess there is really no definition. But I think one becomes an artist when one makes an attempt to translate the ambition within their soul into words on paper.
I was hurriedly driving down Halsted to school this morning, while reprimanding myself for being perpetually late, and concurrently yelling obscenities at anyone who dared to enter my path– it’s fine they can’t hear me cursing them and their entire families from outside the car. If I sauntered into class late, sipping my coffee once again I’d get a headache from rolling my eyes so much at the death stares I’d receive; I pop an aspirin just thinking about having to sit next to the weird girl with the crunchy looking, almost ramen-noodleesque hair, nobody wants that. Morning traffic is the WORST, not just the cars, but the herds of sheep-people mobbing down the sidewalks as well.
I finally arrive (almost) to school where I wait to turn on the street in front of the library for a good five minutes, getting exponentially more frustrated with each passing second that I had to wait for the sheep to pass. I finally see a break in the herd, and I survey my surroundings before turning: I see an oncoming car, not too close or far away, and this asshole running down the sidewalk, literally shoving people out of his way. He was probably in his early forties, with an obviously over-inflated sense of entitlement… You can always tell by the Bluetooth headset blinking in the ear. They want to surgically implant those into your brain. Your brain! Let that sink in for a minute… When this guy sees me beginning to turn, he increases his stride to a sprint. Despite seeing all this, I say “fuck it” and decide to go anyways to avoid getting T-boned before 9:30 am. My action apparently shocked and angered this stupid man with his stupid long black coat that he probably paid way too much for, and his stupid watch and his stupid briefcase. He kicked my car and screamed “Fuck you, you stupid bitch!” I was INFURIATED and steaming all the way down the street during my fruitless efforts of trying to find a good parking spot.
City driving turns the nicest people into the most horribly sadistic and grotesque monsters, so naturally I was cursing this grumpy man who ruined my day, imagining his imminent demise as I’m rounding around the block. I turn left, and as I pull up to the stop sign I realize I am just in time to see the asshole running through the next intersection. I glare at him evilly, then I see a nice big semi-truck come and run him right over. He flopped like a fish on the ground with his mangled limbs. I was staring, mouth agape, then just kept driving while reassuring myself over and over again that the accident was a horrible coincidence. I had no time to stop and see the man’s condition, because after all I was late. I think I’m going to leave fifteen minutes early tomorrow…