Sunday, June 24, 2012

Best Life Ever

The other day my friend Alexandra told me that she is thinking of writing a blog about art, fittingly since she is an artist, but that she needed to think more about what exactly she wanted to write.  Jokingly, though somewhat seriously, I told her to write about me.  After all, I am despairingly gorgeous and well-formed.  She laughed and laughed, because I'm hilarious, and then asked if I now think of myself as a work of art.  My reply was: "No, I've always thought of myself as a work of art."  Unfortunately for the ladies my being a work of art has nothing to do with my appearance, however.  Rather my life is the work of art.

Oscar Wilde is famous for many sayings in which he states that life is the greatest work of art possible; too many sayings, in fact, because I simply could not choose one to include here (if I were honest I'd say that my weekend has been exhausting, in the best way possible, and now I'm simply too tired to remember any of his quotations).  In general Wilde's most well-known statement that life is a work of art is the entirety of The Picture of Dorian Gray, where Dorian's life literally transforms the portrait made of him.  What makes Dorian so intriguing is that he had been, according to Wilde, absolutely beautiful in his visage and in his innocent soul... and then his vanity destroys his portrait, which originally had been a great work of art.  The lesson: there is more to beauty than physical beauty and, let's not forget this part, that we should be aware of how artistic our very lives are.

People from all walks of life learn the same lesson, whether they acknowledge it or not.  Training to be a pastor for two years I heard many professors and books tell me, rightly so, that I had to present a certain figure to the congregation: if I wanted to be listened to, I had to present myself as an authority, as a person of integrity and honor, as a holy person, etc., even if I weren't any of those things.  Successful business-people know this well: no one rises to the top without intentionally presenting themselves as someone who will rise to the top.

Part of the trick, then, to being a good and/or successful writer, is to present to an audience an intriguing work of art as my life.  We read books of authors who have had strange life stories almost without considering whether the book is good or not, we just want to see what the strange person has to say.  Replace "strange" with a whole host of other appealing words and you get the same effect.  Mysterious and hilarious are two words that I use.  The bottom line is that if I want people to read my super intelligent works, I need my life itself to be a work of art worth looking at.  It's a hard task, but if anyone can do it I think it would be me.  I'm still the best thing ever.  Soon I will also have the best life ever.

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