Here below is an extract from an email, published with the recipient’s consent, in which I talk about what I see as the contribution the artist gives into society. Not so easy to put into words, which is precisely the point.
Thank you for your thoughts and reasonings. I can sense there is a lot of ideas, feelings, history, (personal and political and geographical) going around for you. You are an artist, I feel that this kind of mix is almost impossible to express in any other way than through bringing out what is inside (within one’s heart) and onto paper – or whatever ones medium happens to be. Poetry does wonders too. Reaching past and through the ‘ordinary mind’ to touch and illicit an unthought out response must surely be yours to engage with, as the artist with the heart and sensibilities of an artist. Seems you don’t actually have a real choice in the matter, any more than I had a choice to be a monk. It’s a vocation, right?
The fact that you are sitting intensively will help you along, bring what is inside you to the fore. And in the midst of that is your living your life, it just happens to be ‘international’. The fact that you can make a living while you are on your feet and moving is just amazing. I’m applauding.
People would often say to me about ‘settling down’. I never have settled down and probably never will. I don’t actually know what that means in practice but I suspect its about staying in one place physically with a steady job and a steady relationship. Society needs us to be steady or is it commerce needs us to be that way, so we can be reliable and consistent consumers. Please don’t do that!