Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Maimoona Rahman of Hotchpotch.
It is society who create a billion perspectives before letting someone know how they have fared, who make geniuses or failures out of the common lot.
According to Elizabeth Gilbert, internationally acclaimed author of Eat, Pray, Love, the ancient Romans believed that genius was what an individual with even a semblance of creativity had. It was not something they were, or trying to be. Though this perception is a little off-putting, on second thought, it should play well with most artists. Or, at least the normal artists.
Having a genius absolves you of not meeting expectations and churning out unappealing pieces. Well, since the genius is sort of lame, there is not a dime you could have done. At least you tried to grab down the ideas of it, which wins you sympathy and credit for trying.
One fine day, the genius – good or bad – is free to leave. Nobody will chide you for fading out, for not living upto former glory. You are spared an extra shot of tequila over fatuous stress.
The only down side of having a genius is that people attribute works of art to divinity and never hard work, training, or perseverance. The idea that you have the favour of God and hence, never have to flex a grey cell for your livelihood is rather depressing.
But, being a genius is ten times harder. If you are an artist still in the making, then you are not a genius; you are a hopeful who has never bothered to learn enough. You become the lunch hour laugh. You are compared to miserable dead poets, who never realised that starvation was not romantic. Editors defenestrate your pieces of art impassionately. This is how the 21st century deals with artists.
Sometimes, even accomplished artists, i.e., geniuses, dissolve without sympathy. Regression is unforgivable; you are left out in the streets – cold and penurious.
The single advantage of of being a genius (rather than having one) is that though you have to shoulder criticisms, you even get to bask in success. But, how many can actually appeal to the masses out there? Or, put simply, how many artists are actually geniuses?
You may hardly care what the whole ‘genius’ concept is; all that matters is how hard you work. But, the audience as a critic ponder the genius and have developed a set of perceptions that justify their criticisms. It hardly matters that the poem just barrelled through you and you could not grab it down on paper. Effort falls to pieces before outcome.
It is the audience who exalt a once humble artist and make a drunkard of a once brilliant artist. As the pressure builds up, a moment comes when you might consider calling it quits, even if your sexagenarian parents ask you to shun the world.
It is all simple Freudian psychology.
Maimoona Rahman is an 18-year-old aspiring writer going bonkers over everyone else’s success. She passed up the opportunity to study Engineering only to realise the Asian community would never forgive her. Yes, the world peeves her, because she is human. Not her fault you never heard of Sigmond Freud. Check out her blog at http://maimoonamelange.wordpress.com/ and http://wordsmithress.emr8.com/
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