(Levon who is listening to Jay Z, the Black Album)
Let me paraphrase something I read in Backpacker Magazine the other day: “The Appalachian Trail is America’s most revered trail, allowing for thousands to find themselves each year. But enough of the self indulgent memoirs, already.” I almost laughed myself off the EFX machine. These people I know. These poets, songwriters, bloggers, adventurers seeking to better the narrative of themselves… are just like me.
I looked up self indulgent because it sounds like a bad thing, grousing defensively that my work is self reflective and I could never ask it not to be. Self indulgent: doing exactly what one wants, and in regard to a creative work, lacking economy and control. The economics of my work, if that is the saving measure, don’t absolve me whatsoever. Oh no.
Backpacking Europe with no toothbrush, Reading 365 novels in 365 days, Training for a marathon to overcome a fear of inner cities… you’ve found the links in your inbox. It’s like Mrs Robinson asks in “The Graduate,” “Would you like to tell me about your college experiences, Ben?” Ashley rolls her eyes when I tell the same stories over and over. Let me have my moment.
Doing creative work is satisfying a role of expression by the artist. Not self indulgent, but self fulfilling because as one expresses themselves, so they are. The risk of self indulgence lies in the intent; are you working to enjoy yourself or are you working to give a part of yourself? I suppose both can be good art, but we don’t need that many memoirs. Nonetheless, tomorrow I’d like to tell you how I once got lost on Mt. Marcy in a whiteout, if you will allow me to indulge.