Welcome to this week’s edition of ‘Thoughts for Friday’!
While real life personal and professional commitments continue to keep me busy, there is simply no way that I would not make time for sharing another quote with you all. I’ve become rather attached to this weekly series and have been overwhelmed by the response to it since I first began back in November 2013.
The quote I have chosen for this week comes from Charles Bukowski, a German-American poet, novelist and short story writer. Much of Bukowski’s work centered on the theme of the poorer side of the city of Los Angeles in which he lived. Bukowski tackled many of the more uncomfortable aspects of life such as the ‘drudgery of work’, the lives of the poor, relationships with women and alcohol, and was referred to as the ‘laureate of American lowlife’ by Time magazine in 1986.
It is clear from Bukowski’s writing that he was a man proud of his working-class roots and that he saw himself more as a poor artist than any kind of intellectual and this shapes the quote that I’ve chosen for this week’s column. I’m sure that we’ve all met an intellectual at some point or another during our lives and have been left confused by some convoluted or archaic phrase they’ve used. Usually, the intellectual does this in order to make the person they’re talking to feel small or inferior. Why not just say things simply and clearly so that we all understand?
There are differing levels of intelligence throughout society and so it stands to reason that some people will be gifted with a higher IQ than the common man, but why flaunt that fact with highfalutin words that nobody understands? It doesn’t make you look big or clever, it just makes you look conceited and arrogant.
The difference between an intellectual and an artist – as Bukowski skillfully points out – is that an artist usually has something complex and profound to say yet does it in such a way that it seems simple. Writing is an excellent example of a creative art that takes great skill, determination,and a hell of a lot of hard work to achieve. A simple sentence in your favourite book may have been something that the author slaved over for hours, weeks, months, possibly even years. It seems so easy, yet the emotions and images that sentence conveys have taken much from the author themselves.
Artists have an ingrained passion for their work and will shed blood, sweat, and tears in order to achieve it if they have to. It is that level of dedication and artistry that comes across so easily in their work and makes something so hard to convey seem easy.
So keep in mind the next time that you read, see, or hear a striking piece of art and give consideration to the fact that its creator has made something so beautiful and profound appear to be the simplest and easiest thing in the world.