you're a genius all the time
by Jack Kerouac
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You’re a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
Samuel Levi Jones literally deconstructs history, delegitimizing white supremacist knowledge bases.
Did you know,
Martin Luther King Jr. was not included in the Britanica Encyclopedia until 13 years after his assassination, despite new editions printing annually. Yet then, he was only included under African American.
Jones rips them apart.
Turns them inside out.
Hangs them on the wall.
Find his portfolio here.
you don’t need to hurt to be an artist. and as an artist, you are not obligated to make your pain your art.
the glorification of pain in art is toxic.
to make art you do not need to have pain.
if you are an artist who hurts, you are not obligated to pimp out your trauma or pain to make art.
catharsis doesn’t have to be public, even if it is your best work.
while people have a responsibility to talk about painful things to remove stigma, you are not obligated to showcase your ruin at the expense of your own mental health.
you are not obligated to complete the work.
you are not obligated to keep a bright face, and you are not required to provide someone else’s catharsis.
i think about this a lot. as an “artist” i’m afraid of depending too heavily on negative emotions to create.
art is not worth my mental health deteriorating.
balance is key, to mental stability, and to skill as an artist (challenge: can you write a happy poem as cathartic and good as your sad works?)
i don’t want to base my identity on my art if it relies on my internal darkness.
i don’t want to shirk healing in favor of my art.
i don’t want to make myself sad to make myself make to make myself happy.
“don’t fall in love with falling” -aircatcher, joseph
“I can’t live this way just to write a song to play” -just like yesterday, tyler joseph
ps. this post stems from statements from particular songwriters that mental illness is the reason they’re such good artists, and that medication is a bad thing to take if you’re mentally ill, as it blocks your creativity.
i’m not going to discuss medication and illness, but i did want to touch on the above, which is more universal. i hope this comes across: if you need medication or supplements to function, please take it. it’s less that art is hard to make when you’re happy/healthy. it’s that it might be a different kind of art, and it takes practice to make. that’s fine.
pps. artists know this. my three favorite artists use their mental state to create and even they have reminders for us:
“take a day to break away from all the pain our brain has made” -migraine, tyler joseph
“Will I always fall asleep to dream of mending up my wounds, then wake to spend the day reliving every bruise for the sake of a sad song, or a sweet repose, or seeing the blood flow from the stitching like it were a cavalry of demons in retreat, promising to leave me alone? They’re liars.” – A Time To Speak [And A Time To Keep Silent], levi the poet
“do it for the love, give a f about the payment / If I’m being honest, I don’t know what I’m chasing / need a space to place my thoughts and the song’s the location / I’m sick of writing all these sad songs / but I’m just being real, it’s how I feel, word is bond / I just wanna let you know you’re not alone” -ruiner, nothing,nowhere
“So I been putting all my thoughts in this verse / and I don’t know that if it’s helping or it’s making it worse / i just know its been a while since I felt like I’m fine / I’ve been trying to learn to live my life one day at a time” better, nothing,nowhere