Thursday, 15 October 2009

On being an obscure and ridiculous artist: J.M. Coetzee

From Youth, J.M. Coetzee writes about being in love and being an artist. 'Obscure and ridiculous' - that strikes a chord. But one day, one day soon...

He is slim and looselimbed, yet at the same time flabby. He would like to be attractive but knows he is not.... Something of the baby still lingers in him. How long before he will cease to be ababy? What will cure him of babyhood, make him into a man?

What will cure him, if it were to arrive, will be love. He may not believe in God, but he does believe in love and the powers of love. The beloved, the destined one, will see at once through the odd and dull exterior he presents to the fire that burns within him. Meanwhile, being dull and odd looking are part of the purgatory he must pass through in order to emerge, one day, into the light: the light of love, the light of art. For he will be an artist, that has long been settled. if for the time being he must be obscure and ridiculous, that is because it is the lot of the artisit to suffer obscurity and ridicule until the day when he is revealed in his true powers and the the scoffers and mockers fall silent.

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