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I hope you have a wonderful day, no matter who you are.
Please don’t give up.Pronunciation: /si dʒi ti ɑ/ or /si gi ti ɑ/
I am not good enough yet: not good enough for a dozen years.
I need to copy people. I need to copy their styles. I need to make them my own eventually, but to copy them first. I told myself:
Copy the comic artist who expresses a range of styles with ease, from exaggerated, deformed emotions to terse, tightly constructed scenes. Copy the one who does old things, and copy the one who does new things.
Copy the oil painter from 1834 who paints quotidian scenes and breaks with traditions of painting only lofty, high subjects. To note how they construct full forms, and to note how they place form with judicious consistent perspective and compose figure with intentional negative ground.
Copy the cubist who knows the traditions and can perform them when called upon, but who twists them and subverts them with a deliberate eye.
Copy the 1950s animator, who knows how to maintain volume, use rhythm to increase the intuition of life on the screen, and hierarchy to control where what the eye sees and the brain notices.
As the Bauhaus typographer and designer and copyrighter did—copy them. The Nigerian sculptor—copy them. The Grecian urn maker, the Bangladeshi fresco painter, and makers of all manner of high art and low art and kitsch—for all peoples, copy them.
For all manners of communication—the author of literature in many forms who orders letters on a page into countless fugues, the musician and the singer of every culture and instrument, the programmer of the game and its constellation of rules and their friction and fluidity—for all them, too, copy them.
Copy not slavishly, but copy competently. If one cannot emulate someone, that is a limitation of one’s world and ability. To absorb everything; to make everything one’s own. To become a superset of many things, not from few cultures, but from many.
But still—I am too poor, too deficient, too inferior. Not good enough yet: not good enough for a dozen years.
It is said that Hokusai himself, on his deathbed, uttered, “If only Heaven will give me just another ten years…just another five more years…then I could become a real painter.” How much more that is true, then, for one only just starting, when one feels and yearns, even at death, that they are still only at the beginning. And so I indulgently despaired, giving myself the epithet of “potential” as a still-arrogant consolation.
I told myself these things—of how many masters there were to never-master—and like a Pharisee I tore my clothes with great fanfare and sprinkled dust in front of my friends. I boasted to those friends—and to myself—that I would hide and become better in secret. And I said: once I had become so good that I could at last be proud of myself—only then I would blossom all at once on the Internet in a dozen years. Twenty years. Seventy. Then I would be legitimate. Then I would be worth an iota of another’s time.
And by then, perhaps nobody—least of all myself—could hold me in contempt.
But I was fooling myself. And time passed, and nothing did happen. And some friends came and told me so. They showed me, in certain ways, that indeed—you always need to start somewhere, in the end, even with your excuses and your lack of time…
…to start somewhere, as long as it is anywhere.
So here we are.
It will be slow.
[December 30, 2011]