Survival Kills Art by Survival of the Fittest

Written by  //  January 5, 2008  //  Donnyblurbs  //  4 Comments

I interpreted my entire young life through drawing. Whenever I had a feeling I couldn’t place, I would sit down and blindly draw, and end up with a picture that visually spelled out my emotions. When I was in love with Kurt Cobain, I spent a year listening to Nirvana’s “In Utero” while drawing his portrait. I doodled when I was supposed to be listening in class; I sketched when I was supposed to be working.

When I was eighteen I moved out of my parents’ house, determined to go to art school. And through a mystery I’m still unable to solve, I completely lost my shit. I lost my artistic inclinations. I simply did not want to draw, or paint, or take photos anymore. I just didn’t care. And if I tried, I couldn’t. To this day, even my stick figures look like retarded serial killer scribbles. Luckily, I started writing.

Now it’s the first couple weeks of my second major transition in life, from starving college writer to sellout with a soulless job, and my fears came plunging at me in my bed at 1 a.m.

I haven’t written in ages. The only thing I have energy for lately is figuring out how I’m going to spend my newly-acquired money. Writing a little blog seems silly and extraneous. Is it going to happen to me again? Because I’m not ready for this to be over.

And, like a robot, I got out of bed. I smoked a cigarette in the backyard. I sat down, and I wrote this:

Writing is a generous thing to do with the information we’re given; instead of holding onto it, we throw it back out into the world and hope that the landing is pretty. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessarily because we want to save this theory, lesson, this slice of time, forever. Sometimes we put it down on paper because it allows us to forget. We let the world pour through us, and we move on.

This makes us bad at things like Trivial Pursuit. Oh, and survival. Survival dictates we store information for when we need it. We need to have a wealth of information to draw upon to hold a job, to navigate the highways, to be citizens of the world; we need to be more than just conduits. We can’t always give into our writing urges. We get into this habit of hoarding. And then we never let it go.

I can only hope the information I’m holding onto is fermenting into something delicious and worth sharing. Please god, don’t let me lose it; or at least give me a music career next. Actually yeah, let’s just have that music career.

About the Author

Angora Holly Polo

Angora Holly Polo is the Czar of Donnybrook Manor, moderator of leisure, purveyor of intrigue. You may email her offerings of gold at

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4 Comments on "Survival Kills Art by Survival of the Fittest"

  1. Ivyy January 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm · Reply

    It’s the eternal issue- how do you work for corporate america without becoming a complete drone? I wish I were the super-creative type, able to work a corporate job without putting any effort into it, saving my valuable energies for the highly interesting and creative things I did outside of my day job. The sad truth is, though, you have to put energy into a job, even a job that’s not your dream job of astronaut, or cowgirl. But don’t worry, life is long and creativity has an ebb and flow- go with it. Until then, keep on truckin’, Partner-In-Crime.

  2. Col. Hector Bravado January 7, 2008 at 9:52 am · Reply

    I had just finished my internship for a major newspaper in 1994 and had transitioned right into full-time copywriting work in a very production-driven environment for a major newspaper. A college friend had come through town and I was drunk and lamenting to him how I was pissing away my talent writing spec ads for tire stores when I should be a great novelist or something.
    He said the simple, most penetrating and timely thing I think I’d ever had anyone say to me. He was a cub in white-collar affairs, like me, but he was also a potter who worked with ceramics, and probably knew what he was talking about when he looked at me and said:
    “Maybe you’re just practicing.”
    And it’s fun when you start to see what you’ve been practicing for.
    Patience. Do what’s in front of you.

  3. Angora January 7, 2008 at 12:12 pm · Reply

    Goddamnit, your comment is better than my post! Showoff!

  4. Elliott January 10, 2008 at 5:57 pm · Reply

    Wow, yeah, I remember that. Now I manhandle computer schmidt for work, and I keep thinking: it’s almost poetry. The truth is, it’s not. Real writing takes work. ____, ahem, the estimable colonel is right: do what’s in front of you.

    Experience is important. I tried to read one of these big, Russian novels when I was twenty, and I couldn’t even get started. Recently I read it, and it was gripping. The difference is that I have a more nuanced understanding of messed-up relationships now. Aside: wow, those nights (wake up and defend your actions in my recently concluded dream, foul man) had a tangible payoff. That is astounding.

    You just keep making stuff, and keep your eyes open, and the two will come together somehow. Or not, but at least you tried. Now that I’m preaching: life is short, your heroes are probably chumps, and the stupidity of most people is so caustic as to give you hives. If you don’t create something in your time, you’re just another dead fool. Oh, and romance without finance has no chance. Also, don’t marry anyone who can’t get dressed for a wedding behind an interstate highway rest stop ramada.

    What I really remember is going to Pete’s (?) the next morning and getting a patty melt with fries and a side of brown gravy in the early afternoon. That, my friend, was some food, prepared in high style. I have yet to see line cooks dance more elegantly, with less wasted motion, and the tender fat they prepared for me that day still warms my heart.

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