Image stolen from the Art Corps twitter feed.
Maladies in the War of Art
I recently read The War of Art, a self-help book on overcoming the internal forces preventing us from doing our life’s work. It got a lot of things right. Foremost: for most people, our greatest enemy is ourselves.
It got one thing wrong: it says that many maladies are imagined and exist purely in our heads, and do not really exist. The specific examples it uses – Seasonal Affective Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – are real phenomena that impact people’s ability to be productive. Marginalizing those disorders isn’t useful; it does not make those things less real. Pretending they aren’t real is futile. Instead, the below is how I approach those – and similar – psychological problems. It also applies to physical problems.
The only possible universes in which you produce the art you want to make are the ones where you have every malady in your path and you produce your art. It’s not fair that you’re going through whatever you’re experiencing. Some people have it better than you. Some people don’t feel a weight on their chest every morning keeping them from even rising to take a shower in the morning. That sucks. The possibilities where you produce art and you don’t have your issues aren’t worth considering – they aren’t real and can never be.
In the words of a dear friend:
“Make art anyway.”