So... lately, I've not been very active on DeviantArt. I think part of it is just a generalized sense of frustration... partly with trying to get my work noticed, and perhaps mostly with things outside the realm of my art.
My time as of late has mostly been consumed with work, with reading, and with helping my girlfriend in editing her novels. My own creative work has been at something of a hiatus - I'll briefly feel strong inspiration to work on my writing, then when I pull up a work in progress or try to start a new project on this flash of inspiration, it seems to slip through my fingers.
In reading, I've lately come to have an obsession with classic horror and occult stories. Currently, I'm reading Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann, with Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House next on my list. Doctor Faustus has been an interesting, if slow, read. The main character, a composer, seems to struggle with inspiration, feeling as though it's all been done before. It seems even his best works have a sense of mocking parody to them. He can't seem to find any actual satisfaction. Although he is generally regarded as beyond genius and may even seem egotistical to those around him, he actually does have a strange and profound sense of modesty about his own work.
That aside, I've had a question on my mind the past several days. In my own life, the parts of my life I draw the most inspiration from also tend to be the parts that are the most painful. Indeed, they are wounds that never quite seem to scab over. In a paradoxical way, these parts I draw inspiration from... well, the pain from them is what often hinders me as well as inspires me. Perhaps this is why I start on writing what I feel has potential to really be a great novel (a few of them, in fact), but never seem to be able to finish them? Perhaps, more simply, it's just remnants of the crippling depression I suffered in my younger days. While I do know that I am very intelligent, I was, at best, a mediocre student in middle and high school. I would essentially be failing any given class for most of the semester for lack of will and effort, then when it was time for finals, I would ace them to bring my grade up to passing, if sometimes only barely.
Truth be told, I was often suicidal during that time. I would, of course, be accused of faking it to get attention... but no, I don't feel I was faking any of it. I still remember rather vividly a time that I sat in the remnants of a broken mirror, slashing my hands and arms with the shards as my mother yelled at me from the other side of the door, making various insults and threats... among which was a threat to call the police on me, which for whatever reason she chose not to do when I was actually even yelling at her to do so. There was also a time, years later while I was in my early-to-mid twenties, where I finally chose to confront her as an adult for her abuse and for how she had turned the family against me. I ended up jumping out of a moving car to get away from her then, again finding myself suicidal.
People are more than the sum of their experiences, I believe. Certainly, experience is part of it, but we choose how to respond... else, I may have become yet another homicidal maniac shooting up my high school as a result of my experiences. But, the question that's been on my mind for the past several days is what I might be like if my life had not been the hell that it was. Would I be at all inclined toward being an artist beyond the superficial dream of simply being a rock star, having no inspiration other than just the thought of being a rock star? Would I be one of the superficial jerks that I currently loathe? I know that I am moderately outspoken... and of course, that would have the potential to make me even more insufferable. I don't mind that some see me as an insufferable jerk now - people who make snap judgements without even trying to know where it is I come from. Those people, I don't care about. But how might I have been toward those who have gone through the sort of stuff that I have in this life, had my life turned out different? Was it somehow necessary that my life be as hard as it was for me to be a tolerable person as opposed to one of those that makes knee-jerk judgements about myself and those like me? And if so, knowing that, would I have chosen any different?