Most of my adult artistic life I've been thinking a lot in terms of increasing my self awareness, limiting pain, being happier, figuring out how to live. My graduate school career was so fruity. I learned how to meditate, got lost in aikido, stared into the ocean, swam with dolphins, fell very deeply (and abidingly) in love. These fruity pursuits are all still incredibly important to me, I have followed up on everything but swimming with dolphins. Kim MacConnel, artist and yogi, sat me down once and told me in a very no-bullshit voice that my spiritual or life path was at cross purposes to my career, that art and enlightenment are directly at odds, and that I had a big choice to make.
Well, I don't know anything about enlightenment, and sitting in my UCSD studio in 2001 it was way too easy to point to Kim's own substantial career and dedicated yoga practice, label him a hypocrite who wanted to fuck with my happiness and kick the man off my committee. But he was deeply right. He told me that art is a function of attachment, and this, for me anyway, is true. Artists I understand make art because the experience of this surrounding world is intense and important and desperately needs to be shared. What I've been prioritizing for the last eleven years or so is attaining a certain amount of detachment. I want to get over needing to be strong and exchange that strength for a different kind of power that comes when you can walk away, or stop thinking about something, or let go. I've tasted the incredible leverage that comes with detachment, and for the first time I seem to have attained at least a little bit of it in just about every aspect of my life, and of course you're staring at the biggest remaining attachment I have--my need to understand it all in front of an audience.
I write because the sensation of detachment feels lazy, and at times indefensible, and this sensation of indefensible laziness scares my puritanical self more than anything I have ever done. But you always get out what you put in, and this sensation that I am feeling on my sofa in the middle of the afternoon right now is what I've been working toward for a really long time. It's still entirely possible of course that Kim is wrong and that there is such a thing as an art of detachment. But I don't see or get it, and I have to go ahead and commit anyway. I need to trust that I've made this choice.