My guess is that being an American you were taught to go forth and beat the world into submission, bend it to your whimsy, make it your pet and drag it home as an ornament. So you set out to conquer the world with a master's degree and a backpack. Your mentors did not tell you that the world is muscular with dislike of us. The world does not wish to be remade. It resists us. We are baffled by its resistance. It seems to rebuke your very soul, your sense of who you are.
Your regular method, when you meet resistance, is to power through, scheme, conjure.
I suggest you try something different. Before you go back to America, spend a week in one museum. Contemplate one sculpture and think how long it took. Those who made great things had to stay in one place a long time. Their options were few. That is still the case. The plodders are still at it, invisibly making things we will briefly admire. Learn from them. Contemplate what it takes to make one halfway decent thing.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
To A Young Person Feeling Like a Failure
Cary Tennis comforts a young person who has set out to do great things, is living abroad and is now depressed and disillusioned at how hard the going has been.