On Leaving Academia for Art

It’s not you; it’s me.

From the beginning, I found you attractive.

Your exhilarating Theories of Everything

made my head spin, and oh, how you could

Talk. It was like listening to French,

the way you could make sanitation

workers on strike sound mmmm

so deliciously intellectual. For years

you served as my everything, making

sense and even hope out of a sloppy world.

The doubts first surfaced when I

began seeing art again. We had known each

other before, been very close in fact, and

I had almost made a full commitment

then turned away, afraid of the

demands that she might make on me.

I thought that art and I were done.

But something in the way you talked

about her—the certainty of your

Assessments, the closed circle of your

Judgments—resurrected my dormant desire.

I realized that for all your brilliance

and insights, you just didn’t get her;

You wanted to open her head, but

couldn’t feel the heart of her, or

maybe just wouldn’t let yourself.

And then I knew, you really didn’t

get me too, and worse, that in the end

knowing me mattered less to you than

encompassing all in an airtight Idea.

You lived, I realized, for a kind of clean

Completeness, where what couldn’t be

Defined and Ordered had to be ignored

as Noise. What you couldn’t count didn’t

count; what you couldn’t name evaporated.

And worst of all, you theorized away any

Pain—others, yours—you didn’t want to feel.

Don’t get me wrong; I see the glimmering

Power in what you do. I’ll never view the

universe again the way I saw it before I

met you, and that’s a good thing. I don’t

regret and wouldn’t trade our time

together, and you should keep on doing

what you do. But it’s no long where I

want to dwell. I’m going back to art and

to myself: that messy, contradictory, and

Chaotic creature I shed because being

him felt too too much like Living, and I

preferred the power of Not Dying instead.

I hope that we can still be friends; from

time to time I’d like to talk. I know that

you face tough circumstances now, and I’ll

always be rooting for you. So this is less

goodbye than au revoir, hasta luego. And

hoping that, someday, a part of you will

find a way to this ancient place where the

un-generalizable particulars, the sharp and

slippery crispness of existence, the blues

and its pain, un-theorized but explosively

experienced, still breathes, beyond the need

to be explained.

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2 thoughts on “On Leaving Academia for Art

  1. Wonderful. For a long time I envied the neat and seemingly solid structures of the intellectuals. I am grateful for the High IQ’d acquaintance who busted a false Idea I had about intelligence leading to truth. Your words capture the turn away from something a bit different, but still I recognize a similar journey so beautifully conveyed for the intrepid few. I love when I am reading your words and I want to jot down line after line to remember!

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