alcohol and art

these last few days i’ve been listening to quite a few people talk about their experience with alcohol misuse, either through their own struggles or because of alcoholism among their loved ones.

what is it about alcohol abuse that frightens us so? when i was younger, it was the strange and dangerous-seeming world that drunks would enter, a dark and dizzying universe that held both almost unbearable intensity and stupefying numbness.

some alcoholics are peaceful and quiet when they get drunk. others are so tense that it’s hard to be around them when they’re not drinking. then there are people who break into terrifying violence or other, barely disguised forms of aggression, such as dangerous driving.

and then there are some that make it through this horrible tunnel of booze and come out the other end.

here are some artists who did it.

john callahan is a great inspiration to me. this raving-lunatic cartoonist’s story is portrayed in his autobiography don’t worry, he won’t get far on foot. his drinking got him into an accident that left him paralyzed. now a recovering alcoholic, he draws very, very strange cartoons and has written a beautiful and touching children’s book, the king of strings and the cranberry clown, where he shows the absolute futility of trying to control one’s life.

hailing from a very different corner is composer and writer ned rorem:

I’m five things: I’m homosexual and alcoholic (a recovered alcoholic – I haven’t had a drink of any sort in 34 years). I’m also an atheist, and a pacifist, totally atheist and totally pacifist. And I’m a composer. That’s the only one that’s problematic; people don’t know what you’re talking about when you say you’re a composer. But you are a composer or you aren’t, and you know that pretty early.

(go here for the rest of the interview with him)

going some time back, there is dexter gordon, who, my jazz musician husband tells me, spent 15 years in europe partly because that would make it easier for him to quit the sauce. after returning to the states, he won critical acclaim for portraying another alcoholic saxophonist in the movie round midnight.

finally, if you want to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, here’s “johnnyboy’s” blog, about the life journey of a recovering alcoholic and musician.

may we all learn from these guys.

and if alcohol has been a difficult experience in your life, maybe i can help you.  drop me a line if you’d like to talk about that.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

53 thoughts on “alcohol and art

  1. Sydney

    Creating art and alcohol/drug use sometimes do go together in a strange way. What is scary – the unfettered shadow side of the drinker and the hell that often follows. Even quiet drunks get morose at times. Alcohol tends to reveal our shadow side, especially if we’ve never confronted it otherwise. Of course the loss of inhibition is helpful to an artist who is aiming for gut honesty, something that is hard to achieve in art. But he or she courts trouble: illness and even death for that insight.

  2. Sydney

    Creating art and alcohol/drug use sometimes do go together in a strange way. What is scary – the unfettered shadow side of the drinker and the hell that often follows. Even quiet drunks get morose at times. Alcohol tends to reveal our shadow side, especially if we’ve never confronted it otherwise. Of course the loss of inhibition is helpful to an artist who is aiming for gut honesty, something that is hard to achieve in art. But he or she courts trouble: illness and even death for that insight.

  3. Levy

    I can appreciate the turn around stories of artist and I get that there are lessons to be learned, but how did they do it? and what part did therapy play? How does what they did make a difference to me? I’ve only read one post so maybe I’ve got your intent all wrong. Maybe I should have read more about or considered your perspective audience before offering my two-cents or maybe not.

  4. Levy

    I can appreciate the turn around stories of artist and I get that there are lessons to be learned, but how did they do it? and what part did therapy play? How does what they did make a difference to me? I’ve only read one post so maybe I’ve got your intent all wrong. Maybe I should have read more about or considered your perspective audience before offering my two-cents or maybe not.

  5. Pingback: those who quit drinking … » change therapy - isabella mori

  6. Pingback: those who quit drinking … » change therapy - isabella mori

  7. Rudolf

    I’m into #1 quote. Alcohol can be useful in fueling creativity in art. I once did a painting and a poem in the same sitting under the influence that I’m very proud of. However, in my case, the experience didn’t really encourage me to do it again and again. I tend not to overdo alcohol.

    A fellow artist, with the same name as mine, praised the virtues of alcohol and said he has often felt a lot better because of it. He recently died. Maybe it was too much in the end. But it is interesting that it makes people feel better, perhaps better enough to work. I think it is a much safer drug than those psychiatrically promoted ones.

    I have been surprised at the number of artists that can still function creatively even tho being quite blitzed out on drugs/alcohol. Take Keith Richards for instance.

  8. Rudolf

    I’m into #1 quote. Alcohol can be useful in fueling creativity in art. I once did a painting and a poem in the same sitting under the influence that I’m very proud of. However, in my case, the experience didn’t really encourage me to do it again and again. I tend not to overdo alcohol.

    A fellow artist, with the same name as mine, praised the virtues of alcohol and said he has often felt a lot better because of it. He recently died. Maybe it was too much in the end. But it is interesting that it makes people feel better, perhaps better enough to work. I think it is a much safer drug than those psychiatrically promoted ones.

    I have been surprised at the number of artists that can still function creatively even tho being quite blitzed out on drugs/alcohol. Take Keith Richards for instance.

  9. Jessica Janos

    I come from a long line of artists. The idea that alcohol and creativity mesh is old and outdated. It goes along with the “mad eccentric”/”tortured soul” stereotype. My father was an artist and an alcoholic. He used it as a replacement for dealing with issues in his life that held him back.

    To be creative you need to be free of your baggage and free of chaos. This is the antithesis of what alcohol provides. Sure it may work temporarily…but if drinking and drugs make you a better artist then you need to ask yourself what you aren’t doing to commit to being a creative person.

    Creative fields are some of the most difficult to pursue because you have to be utterly self-motivated, success is arbitrary and difficult and you have to constantly reexamine your life and motivations.

    I know plenty of people who drink and use drugs to become more creative. It has never turned out well. You can watch my film about one of them at: http://films.thelot.com/films/16552

  10. Jessica Janos

    I come from a long line of artists. The idea that alcohol and creativity mesh is old and outdated. It goes along with the “mad eccentric”/”tortured soul” stereotype. My father was an artist and an alcoholic. He used it as a replacement for dealing with issues in his life that held him back.

    To be creative you need to be free of your baggage and free of chaos. This is the antithesis of what alcohol provides. Sure it may work temporarily…but if drinking and drugs make you a better artist then you need to ask yourself what you aren’t doing to commit to being a creative person.

    Creative fields are some of the most difficult to pursue because you have to be utterly self-motivated, success is arbitrary and difficult and you have to constantly reexamine your life and motivations.

    I know plenty of people who drink and use drugs to become more creative. It has never turned out well. You can watch my film about one of them at: http://films.thelot.com/films/16552

  11. Pingback: Dodgeblogium » Blog Archive » BOMS’d again

  12. Pingback: Dodgeblogium » Blog Archive » BOMS’d again

  13. Lorna

    im a recovering alcoholic with many relapses ! and an artist
    i cannot produce work when drinking at all or in the first stages of recovery – recovery is the only way for me ! then when i have dealt with some issues that keep reoccurring and am healthier so my mental health better ( i suffer from various mental health issues) then i can produce work. its a vicious cycle though if i am not making work i am more likely to relapse into horrible binge drinking – then i cant make work ! maintainance is the key but is extremely difficult – as i get better i forget how important it is to maintain my support and recovery assistance!!! ( AA, dry friends, rehab support, local alcohol agency and cpn) i get compacant ! i should not ! every day i should remind myself i must not pick up a drink the disease is frightening …………

  14. Lorna

    im a recovering alcoholic with many relapses ! and an artist
    i cannot produce work when drinking at all or in the first stages of recovery – recovery is the only way for me ! then when i have dealt with some issues that keep reoccurring and am healthier so my mental health better ( i suffer from various mental health issues) then i can produce work. its a vicious cycle though if i am not making work i am more likely to relapse into horrible binge drinking – then i cant make work ! maintainance is the key but is extremely difficult – as i get better i forget how important it is to maintain my support and recovery assistance!!! ( AA, dry friends, rehab support, local alcohol agency and cpn) i get compacant ! i should not ! every day i should remind myself i must not pick up a drink the disease is frightening …………

  15. isabella mori

    thanks for your comment, lorna!

    “as i get better i forget how important it is to maintain my support and recovery assistance”

    i’m always fascinated by how much we can learn from people who are struggling with addictions. what you just said goes for everyone. it is so easy to get complacent and to forget how MUCH we depend on each other.

    a simple example is exercise. how many people get scared into saying, “oh geez, i simply MUST exercise!” then we do it for a few days/weeks, and then it fizzles out. at least half of the people who do stick to it are people who do it with others – with a buddy, at a gym, with a trainer, etc.

    most of the time, we just can’t do these things all by ourselves.

  16. isabella mori

    thanks for your comment, lorna!

    “as i get better i forget how important it is to maintain my support and recovery assistance”

    i’m always fascinated by how much we can learn from people who are struggling with addictions. what you just said goes for everyone. it is so easy to get complacent and to forget how MUCH we depend on each other.

    a simple example is exercise. how many people get scared into saying, “oh geez, i simply MUST exercise!” then we do it for a few days/weeks, and then it fizzles out. at least half of the people who do stick to it are people who do it with others – with a buddy, at a gym, with a trainer, etc.

    most of the time, we just can’t do these things all by ourselves.

  17. omft

    if alcohol helps you past some sort of mental block and allows you to paint again is fine but when you depend on the drink to work that is wrong i think

  18. omft

    if alcohol helps you past some sort of mental block and allows you to paint again is fine but when you depend on the drink to work that is wrong i think

  19. skovgaard

    I am a Danish composer, trained at The Royal Classical Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
    After getting my diploma, I went strait back into my on and off life as a fulltime drunk. I had no fears at all, rather the opposit; I could not relate to anything without drugs or drinks. 1999 I got my artistic breakthrough, awarded several prizes for “outstanding efforts in the field of contemporary art music”. My first Cd-release was a smash hit in the genre and highly praised by critics worldwide. At that point, I had allready installed some practical agendas; I never drank, refining my scores. But everything I consieved – and was praised as “visionary” or “brilliant”, always was consieved under the influende of mainly alcohol. By 2003 I had no control. Drinking all day, acting weird and sarcastic made everybody slowly shotting their doors. No one wanted to follow my drinking suiside. By the age of 37, I finally gave in and entered a five week stay at a Minnesota-center. Three moths later I was drinking hardcore again. After a period of two months nonstop misuse, including pills and drugs, I ended up being committed to a santorium for a year. Soon I was able to compose again and did a great amount of work in this span of time. 2006 I took up drinking again. This time, it took me to hell and back to the sanatorium for another ten months. Since them, I´ve been able to stay sober, travelling around – currently living in Italy. But I am bored, as Robert Burton once said. Fucking bored. Working on a opera, I tend to get wasted for one day, skippeng drink the next,adjusting the space with tranquilizers etc. It is only a matter of time. Goethe said: “Beeing bored is the feeling of intelligent people. People with no vision, never get bored. They tend to do stupid things instead.”
    I suggests he was right.
    Excuse my english. I´m danish, fluent in german, italian and french.
    But not the language of life it selfs, I simply cannot comprehend, how people get by. I admire everyone for being able to.
    I really do.
    I have no trouble composing. But to get back to the kind of succes I won in those early days of my career, I need alcohol.
    Thats it.

    Skovgaard, covering alcoholic. Its sublime. Sorry.

  20. skovgaard

    I am a Danish composer, trained at The Royal Classical Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
    After getting my diploma, I went strait back into my on and off life as a fulltime drunk. I had no fears at all, rather the opposit; I could not relate to anything without drugs or drinks. 1999 I got my artistic breakthrough, awarded several prizes for “outstanding efforts in the field of contemporary art music”. My first Cd-release was a smash hit in the genre and highly praised by critics worldwide. At that point, I had allready installed some practical agendas; I never drank, refining my scores. But everything I consieved – and was praised as “visionary” or “brilliant”, always was consieved under the influende of mainly alcohol. By 2003 I had no control. Drinking all day, acting weird and sarcastic made everybody slowly shotting their doors. No one wanted to follow my drinking suiside. By the age of 37, I finally gave in and entered a five week stay at a Minnesota-center. Three moths later I was drinking hardcore again. After a period of two months nonstop misuse, including pills and drugs, I ended up being committed to a santorium for a year. Soon I was able to compose again and did a great amount of work in this span of time. 2006 I took up drinking again. This time, it took me to hell and back to the sanatorium for another ten months. Since them, I´ve been able to stay sober, travelling around – currently living in Italy. But I am bored, as Robert Burton once said. Fucking bored. Working on a opera, I tend to get wasted for one day, skippeng drink the next,adjusting the space with tranquilizers etc. It is only a matter of time. Goethe said: “Beeing bored is the feeling of intelligent people. People with no vision, never get bored. They tend to do stupid things instead.”
    I suggests he was right.
    Excuse my english. I´m danish, fluent in german, italian and french.
    But not the language of life it selfs, I simply cannot comprehend, how people get by. I admire everyone for being able to.
    I really do.
    I have no trouble composing. But to get back to the kind of succes I won in those early days of my career, I need alcohol.
    Thats it.

    Skovgaard, covering alcoholic. Its sublime. Sorry.

  21. isabella mori

    thanks @omft and @skovgaard.

    skovgaard, you portray the struggle so well. i say this because i grew up with an addicted artist – my father.

    do you think you might eventually find a way to deal with this? either to temper your drinking so that you can benefit from its advantages but don’t have to suffer from its disadvantages, or by getting sober and finding way to stay inspired and un-bored?

    what do you think of ned rorem’s experience?

  22. isabella mori

    thanks @omft and @skovgaard.

    skovgaard, you portray the struggle so well. i say this because i grew up with an addicted artist – my father.

    do you think you might eventually find a way to deal with this? either to temper your drinking so that you can benefit from its advantages but don’t have to suffer from its disadvantages, or by getting sober and finding way to stay inspired and un-bored?

    what do you think of ned rorem’s experience?

  23. skovgaard

    Dear Mori, – I took the liberty of reading the texts applied to your name.
    No. The “system” has nothing to offer than filling me up with valium etc. etc., remarcable bad treatment as a human being, leaving you behind and yet another time behind your own self. And you…..
    What odd thing to say to me
    What odd thing to do
    There´s a predestinate in the fall of a sparrow
    There is so much more at least in me
    – dally with me. Angels and ministers of grace defend us! I paint my poems , my thoughts are imagery, I love
    There is nothing you can hide.
    … the Dream spun in silk
    Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon, I´m the Honey, with thoughts beyound thr reaches of our
    and I get by on people,
    I will set them
    with thoughts Byound our soul. may june be with me, the shot, the doing
    all
    snare summer
    I thank you and in your needy hour, you will lean on us for I am power.
    Skovgaard.
    I do not understand your last remark.
    Rorem´s exp.

  24. skovgaard

    Dear Mori, – I took the liberty of reading the texts applied to your name.
    No. The “system” has nothing to offer than filling me up with valium etc. etc., remarcable bad treatment as a human being, leaving you behind and yet another time behind your own self. And you…..
    What odd thing to say to me
    What odd thing to do
    There´s a predestinate in the fall of a sparrow
    There is so much more at least in me
    – dally with me. Angels and ministers of grace defend us! I paint my poems , my thoughts are imagery, I love
    There is nothing you can hide.
    … the Dream spun in silk
    Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon, I´m the Honey, with thoughts beyound thr reaches of our
    and I get by on people,
    I will set them
    with thoughts Byound our soul. may june be with me, the shot, the doing
    all
    snare summer
    I thank you and in your needy hour, you will lean on us for I am power.
    Skovgaard.
    I do not understand your last remark.
    Rorem´s exp.

  25. skovgaard

    ihr Menschen, die ihr mich für feindselig, störrisch oder misantropisch haltet oder erkläret, wie unrecht tut ihr mir; ihr wißt nicht die geheime Ursache von dem, was euch so scheinet; mein Herz und mein Sinn waren von Kindheit an für das zarte Gefühl des Wohlwollens, selbst große Handlungen zu verrichten, dazu war ich immer aufgelegt, aber bedenket nur, daß seit 6 Jahren ein heilloser Zustand mich befallen, durch unvernünftige Ärzte verschlimmert, von Jahr zu Jahr in der Hoffnung, gebessert zu werden, betrogen, endlich zu dem Ãœberblick eines dauernden Ãœbels [daß durchstrichen] (dessen Heilung vielleicht Jahre dauern oder gar unmöglich ist) gezwungen, mit einem feuerigen, lebhaften Temperamente geboren, selbst empfänglich für die Zerstreuungen der Gesellschaft, mußte ich früh mich absondern, einsam mein Leben zubringen, wollte ich auch zuweilen mich einmal über alles das hinaussetzen, o wie hart wurde ich dur[ch] die verdoppelte traurige Erfahrung meines schlechten Gehör’s dann zurückgestoßen, und doch war’s mir noch nicht möglich, den Menschen zu sagen: sprecht lauter, schreit, denn ich bin taub, ach wie wär es möglich, daß ich dann die Schwäche eines Sinnes angeben sollte, der bei mir in einem vollkommenern Grade als bei andern sein sollte, einen Sinn, den ich einst in der größten Vollkommenheit besaß, in einer Vollkommenheit, wie ihn wenige von meinem Fache gewiß haben noch gehabt haben – o ich kann es nicht, drum verzeiht, wenn ihr mich da zurückweichen sehen werdet, wo ich mich gerne unter euch mischte; doppelt wehe tut mir mein Unglück, indem ich dabei verkannt werden muß, für mich darf Erholung in menschlicher Gesellschaft, feinere Unterredungen, wechselseitige Ergießungen nicht statt haben, ganz allein fast nur so viel, als es die höchste Notwendigkeit fodert, darf ich mich in Gesellschaft einlassen, wie ein Verbannter muß ich leben, nahe ich mich einer Gesellschaft, so überfällt mich eine heiße Ängstlichkeit, indem ich befürchte, in Gefahr gesetzt zu werden, meinen Zustand merken zu lassen – so war es denn auch dieses halbe Jahr, was ich auf dem Lande zubrachte, von meinem vernünftigen Arzte aufgefordert, so viel als möglich mein Gehör zu schonen, kam er [nur durchstrichen] fast meiner jetztigen natürlichen Disposition entgegen, obschon, vom Triebe zur Gesellschaft manchmal hingerissen, ich mich dazu verleiten ließ, aber welche Demütigung, wenn jemand neben mir stund und von weitem eine Flöte hörte, und ich nichts hörte; oder jemand den Hirten singen hörte, und ich auch nichts hörte; [Seite 2] solche Ereignisse brachten mich nahe an Verzweiflung, es fehlte wenig, und ich endigte selbst mein Leben – nur sie, die Kunst, sie hielt mich zurück, ach es dünkte mir unmöglich, die Welt eher zu verlassen, bis ich das alles hervorgebracht, wozu ich mich aufgelegt fühlte; und so fristete ich dieses elende Leben – wahrhaft elend; einen so reizbaren Körper, daß eine etwas schnelle Veränderung mich aus dem besten Zustande in den schlechtesten versetzen kann – Geduld – so heißt es, sie muß ich nun zur Führerin wählen, ich habe es – dauernd, hoffe ich, soll mein Entschluß sein auszuharren, bis es den unerbittlichen Parzen gefällt, den Faden zu brechen, vielleicht geht’s besser, vielleicht nicht, ich bin gefaßt – schon in meinem 28. Jahre gezwungen, Philosoph zu werden, es ist nicht leicht, für den Künstler, schwerer als für irgend jemand – Gottheit, du siehst herab auf mein Inneres; du kennst es, du weißt, daß Menschenliebe und Neigung zum Wohltun drin hausen, – o Menschen, wenn ihr einst dieses leset, so denkt, daß ihr mir unrecht getan, und der Unglückliche, er tröste sich, einen seinesgleichen zu finden, der trotz allen Hindernissen der Natur, doch noch alles getan, was in seinem Vermögen stand, um in die Reihe würdiger Künstler und Menschen aufgenommen zu werden – ihr meine Brüder Carl und [Johann fehlt], sobald ich tot bin, und Professor Schmid lebt noch, so bittet ihn in meinem Namen, daß er meine Krankheit beschreibe, und dieses hier geschriebene Blatt füget ihr dieser meiner Krankengeschichte bei, [ein unleserliches Wort durchstrichen] damit wenigstens so viel als möglich die Welt nach meinem Tode mit mir versöhnt werde – zugleich erkläre ich euch beide hier für [meinen durchstrichen] die Erben des kleinen Vermögens, (wenn man es so nennen kann) von mir, teilt es redlich, und vertragt und helft euch einander; was ihr mir zuwider getan, das wißt ihr, war euch schon längst verziehen, dir Bruder Carl danke ich noch insbesondere für deine in dieser letztern spätern Zeit mir bewiesene Anhänglichkeit; mein Wunsch ist, daß [ich durchstrichen] euch ein bessers sorgen[volleres durchstrichen] loseres Leben als mir werde, empfehlt euren [nach durchstrichen] Kindern Tugend, sie nur allein kann glücklich machen, nicht Geld, ich spreche aus Erfahrung, sie war es, die mich selbst im Elende gehoben, ihr danke [Seite 3] ich nebst meiner Kunst, daß ich durch keinen Selbstmord mein Leben endigte – lebt wohl und liebt euch, – allen Freunden danke ich, besonders Fürst Lichnowski und Professor Schmid. Die Instrumente von Fürst L. wünsche ich, daß sie doch mögen aufbewahrt werden bei einem von euch, doch entstehe deswegen kein Streit unter euch, sobald sie euch aber zu was nüzlicherm dienen können, so verkauft sie nur, wie froh bin ich, wenn ich auch noch unter meinem Grabe euch nützen kann – so wär’s geschehen – mit Freuden eil ich dem Tode entgegen – kömmt er früher, als ich Gelegenheit gehabt habe, noch alle meine Kunst-Fähigkeiten zu entfalten, so wird er mir trotz meinem harten Schicksal doch noch zu frühe kommen, und ich würde ihn wohl später wünschen – doch auch dann bin ich zufrieden, befreit er mich nicht von einem endlosen, leidenden Zustande? – komm, wann du willst, ich gehe dir mutig entgegen – lebt wohl und vergeßt mich nicht ganz im Tode, ich habe es um euch verdient, indem ich in meinem Leben oft an euch gedacht, euch glücklich zu machen, seid es –

  26. skovgaard

    ihr Menschen, die ihr mich für feindselig, störrisch oder misantropisch haltet oder erkläret, wie unrecht tut ihr mir; ihr wißt nicht die geheime Ursache von dem, was euch so scheinet; mein Herz und mein Sinn waren von Kindheit an für das zarte Gefühl des Wohlwollens, selbst große Handlungen zu verrichten, dazu war ich immer aufgelegt, aber bedenket nur, daß seit 6 Jahren ein heilloser Zustand mich befallen, durch unvernünftige Ärzte verschlimmert, von Jahr zu Jahr in der Hoffnung, gebessert zu werden, betrogen, endlich zu dem Ãœberblick eines dauernden Ãœbels [daß durchstrichen] (dessen Heilung vielleicht Jahre dauern oder gar unmöglich ist) gezwungen, mit einem feuerigen, lebhaften Temperamente geboren, selbst empfänglich für die Zerstreuungen der Gesellschaft, mußte ich früh mich absondern, einsam mein Leben zubringen, wollte ich auch zuweilen mich einmal über alles das hinaussetzen, o wie hart wurde ich dur[ch] die verdoppelte traurige Erfahrung meines schlechten Gehör’s dann zurückgestoßen, und doch war’s mir noch nicht möglich, den Menschen zu sagen: sprecht lauter, schreit, denn ich bin taub, ach wie wär es möglich, daß ich dann die Schwäche eines Sinnes angeben sollte, der bei mir in einem vollkommenern Grade als bei andern sein sollte, einen Sinn, den ich einst in der größten Vollkommenheit besaß, in einer Vollkommenheit, wie ihn wenige von meinem Fache gewiß haben noch gehabt haben – o ich kann es nicht, drum verzeiht, wenn ihr mich da zurückweichen sehen werdet, wo ich mich gerne unter euch mischte; doppelt wehe tut mir mein Unglück, indem ich dabei verkannt werden muß, für mich darf Erholung in menschlicher Gesellschaft, feinere Unterredungen, wechselseitige Ergießungen nicht statt haben, ganz allein fast nur so viel, als es die höchste Notwendigkeit fodert, darf ich mich in Gesellschaft einlassen, wie ein Verbannter muß ich leben, nahe ich mich einer Gesellschaft, so überfällt mich eine heiße Ängstlichkeit, indem ich befürchte, in Gefahr gesetzt zu werden, meinen Zustand merken zu lassen – so war es denn auch dieses halbe Jahr, was ich auf dem Lande zubrachte, von meinem vernünftigen Arzte aufgefordert, so viel als möglich mein Gehör zu schonen, kam er [nur durchstrichen] fast meiner jetztigen natürlichen Disposition entgegen, obschon, vom Triebe zur Gesellschaft manchmal hingerissen, ich mich dazu verleiten ließ, aber welche Demütigung, wenn jemand neben mir stund und von weitem eine Flöte hörte, und ich nichts hörte; oder jemand den Hirten singen hörte, und ich auch nichts hörte; [Seite 2] solche Ereignisse brachten mich nahe an Verzweiflung, es fehlte wenig, und ich endigte selbst mein Leben – nur sie, die Kunst, sie hielt mich zurück, ach es dünkte mir unmöglich, die Welt eher zu verlassen, bis ich das alles hervorgebracht, wozu ich mich aufgelegt fühlte; und so fristete ich dieses elende Leben – wahrhaft elend; einen so reizbaren Körper, daß eine etwas schnelle Veränderung mich aus dem besten Zustande in den schlechtesten versetzen kann – Geduld – so heißt es, sie muß ich nun zur Führerin wählen, ich habe es – dauernd, hoffe ich, soll mein Entschluß sein auszuharren, bis es den unerbittlichen Parzen gefällt, den Faden zu brechen, vielleicht geht’s besser, vielleicht nicht, ich bin gefaßt – schon in meinem 28. Jahre gezwungen, Philosoph zu werden, es ist nicht leicht, für den Künstler, schwerer als für irgend jemand – Gottheit, du siehst herab auf mein Inneres; du kennst es, du weißt, daß Menschenliebe und Neigung zum Wohltun drin hausen, – o Menschen, wenn ihr einst dieses leset, so denkt, daß ihr mir unrecht getan, und der Unglückliche, er tröste sich, einen seinesgleichen zu finden, der trotz allen Hindernissen der Natur, doch noch alles getan, was in seinem Vermögen stand, um in die Reihe würdiger Künstler und Menschen aufgenommen zu werden – ihr meine Brüder Carl und [Johann fehlt], sobald ich tot bin, und Professor Schmid lebt noch, so bittet ihn in meinem Namen, daß er meine Krankheit beschreibe, und dieses hier geschriebene Blatt füget ihr dieser meiner Krankengeschichte bei, [ein unleserliches Wort durchstrichen] damit wenigstens so viel als möglich die Welt nach meinem Tode mit mir versöhnt werde – zugleich erkläre ich euch beide hier für [meinen durchstrichen] die Erben des kleinen Vermögens, (wenn man es so nennen kann) von mir, teilt es redlich, und vertragt und helft euch einander; was ihr mir zuwider getan, das wißt ihr, war euch schon längst verziehen, dir Bruder Carl danke ich noch insbesondere für deine in dieser letztern spätern Zeit mir bewiesene Anhänglichkeit; mein Wunsch ist, daß [ich durchstrichen] euch ein bessers sorgen[volleres durchstrichen] loseres Leben als mir werde, empfehlt euren [nach durchstrichen] Kindern Tugend, sie nur allein kann glücklich machen, nicht Geld, ich spreche aus Erfahrung, sie war es, die mich selbst im Elende gehoben, ihr danke [Seite 3] ich nebst meiner Kunst, daß ich durch keinen Selbstmord mein Leben endigte – lebt wohl und liebt euch, – allen Freunden danke ich, besonders Fürst Lichnowski und Professor Schmid. Die Instrumente von Fürst L. wünsche ich, daß sie doch mögen aufbewahrt werden bei einem von euch, doch entstehe deswegen kein Streit unter euch, sobald sie euch aber zu was nüzlicherm dienen können, so verkauft sie nur, wie froh bin ich, wenn ich auch noch unter meinem Grabe euch nützen kann – so wär’s geschehen – mit Freuden eil ich dem Tode entgegen – kömmt er früher, als ich Gelegenheit gehabt habe, noch alle meine Kunst-Fähigkeiten zu entfalten, so wird er mir trotz meinem harten Schicksal doch noch zu frühe kommen, und ich würde ihn wohl später wünschen – doch auch dann bin ich zufrieden, befreit er mich nicht von einem endlosen, leidenden Zustande? – komm, wann du willst, ich gehe dir mutig entgegen – lebt wohl und vergeßt mich nicht ganz im Tode, ich habe es um euch verdient, indem ich in meinem Leben oft an euch gedacht, euch glücklich zu machen, seid es –

  27. isabella mori

    reply @2 to skovgaard

    you say “The “system” has nothing to offer than filling me up with valium etc. etc., remarcable bad treatment as a human being, leaving you behind and yet another time behind your own self. ”

    skovgaard, forget “the system”. the question was – do YOU feel YOU might be able to find something?

    my reference to ned rorem is expanded on in the orginal post, which also carries a link to him. since he, like you, is a composer, and has also battled with alcohol, i thought it would be interesting to see what you think.

    and thanks for the poetic words you poured out on the page …

    Rorem´s exp.

  28. isabella mori

    reply @2 to skovgaard

    you say “The “system” has nothing to offer than filling me up with valium etc. etc., remarcable bad treatment as a human being, leaving you behind and yet another time behind your own self. ”

    skovgaard, forget “the system”. the question was – do YOU feel YOU might be able to find something?

    my reference to ned rorem is expanded on in the orginal post, which also carries a link to him. since he, like you, is a composer, and has also battled with alcohol, i thought it would be interesting to see what you think.

    and thanks for the poetic words you poured out on the page …

    Rorem´s exp.

  29. skovgaard

    Okay. The system is no alternative. It turned me down. Beethoven is no alternative. What do you want me to write? I am just another fuckup without a face, skipping dreams, coffee, sex, cartoons and yet another composition. I write like Mozart. You wrote, that “you portray the struggle so well. I say this because i grew up with an addicted artist”. Your father. It´s pure Rimbaud. You write to me, as if you miss a face upon the words.
    Fine. I´ll give a try. But and but.
    U trigger my mind. I´m in the middle of a opera.
    skovgaard.
    I´ll

  30. skovgaard

    Okay. The system is no alternative. It turned me down. Beethoven is no alternative. What do you want me to write? I am just another fuckup without a face, skipping dreams, coffee, sex, cartoons and yet another composition. I write like Mozart. You wrote, that “you portray the struggle so well. I say this because i grew up with an addicted artist”. Your father. It´s pure Rimbaud. You write to me, as if you miss a face upon the words.
    Fine. I´ll give a try. But and but.
    U trigger my mind. I´m in the middle of a opera.
    skovgaard.
    I´ll

  31. skovgaard

    Dear Isabella ( for those of U: The beautyful one in ancient greek), – as time-table will show I am harsh. But you forget one thing: I am drinking.
    That´s hell.
    Not heaven.
    Or maybe it is – heaven.
    Cause I tend to forget all dirt in this “This” and I am able to sleep. So I die a little younger. No big deal. We all do.
    SkovgaardI have to attend the celsta.

  32. skovgaard

    Dear Isabella ( for those of U: The beautyful one in ancient greek), – as time-table will show I am harsh. But you forget one thing: I am drinking.
    That´s hell.
    Not heaven.
    Or maybe it is – heaven.
    Cause I tend to forget all dirt in this “This” and I am able to sleep. So I die a little younger. No big deal. We all do.
    SkovgaardI have to attend the celsta.

  33. skovgaard

    Dear Isabella.
    I went over the egde. Now I´m cold sober. I managed to crash a rented car and was arrested by Italian Police.
    Like Jackson Pollack, I pitty myself and I´m not proud of the result. Binges may occur again but let them only stand for what they reakky are: A Shotgun Diary.
    Regards
    Skovgaard.

  34. skovgaard

    Dear Isabella.
    I went over the egde. Now I´m cold sober. I managed to crash a rented car and was arrested by Italian Police.
    Like Jackson Pollack, I pitty myself and I´m not proud of the result. Binges may occur again but let them only stand for what they reakky are: A Shotgun Diary.
    Regards
    Skovgaard.

  35. california drug rehabilitation

    As we all know, every big artist had a problem. One with alcohol, one with drugs, they all had bad habits or even addictions. Even if they where how they where, they made some projects that will remain forever in our culture and in our books. But they did something, today people have these bad habits and they don`t do nothing.

  36. california drug rehabilitation

    As we all know, every big artist had a problem. One with alcohol, one with drugs, they all had bad habits or even addictions. Even if they where how they where, they made some projects that will remain forever in our culture and in our books. But they did something, today people have these bad habits and they don`t do nothing.

  37. isabella mori

    “california drug rehabilitation” – what is your name?

    if you’re saying that each and every big artist had an addiction problem – that’s not correct. e.g. i don’t know that js bach had an addiction problem, or oscar peterson.

    at the same token, there are lots of people today who are battling addiction and DO do something. skovgaard is a good example.

  38. isabella mori

    “california drug rehabilitation” – what is your name?

    if you’re saying that each and every big artist had an addiction problem – that’s not correct. e.g. i don’t know that js bach had an addiction problem, or oscar peterson.

    at the same token, there are lots of people today who are battling addiction and DO do something. skovgaard is a good example.

  39. skovgaard

    You both forget something. Drugs or alcohol is not the issue. Life itself is a addiction. I´ve just been to Italy, a little town. Some guy kept trying to sell his works. Every night he cashed in some poor five euro on a bar. Why does he do that? I cannot figure it out. Comfort is a addiction. Being able to drink pure water. But if the basic needs of a certain persona in this world is not based on anything, I guess the will to exist is a addiction.
    Skovgaard.
    Please forgive my poor spelling. I am Danish, composer. Without or with a cause.

  40. skovgaard

    You both forget something. Drugs or alcohol is not the issue. Life itself is a addiction. I´ve just been to Italy, a little town. Some guy kept trying to sell his works. Every night he cashed in some poor five euro on a bar. Why does he do that? I cannot figure it out. Comfort is a addiction. Being able to drink pure water. But if the basic needs of a certain persona in this world is not based on anything, I guess the will to exist is a addiction.
    Skovgaard.
    Please forgive my poor spelling. I am Danish, composer. Without or with a cause.

  41. skovgaard

    and to Omft: What is wrong with Lorna? What do you think you do that is more sober the she does. Sober….. That´s a child born.
    The rest is growing up. Religion as a parasite. Parrents this and that. Take your driver license, boy! or u are not a real man! Fuck that. Fuck me. Read some Albert Camus. It is dangerous territory but it´s safe. As the Russian tale goes – you can travel to the end of the world but never get a ticket back, telling the whats right and wrong. Never.
    Skovgaard.
    Still going. I´ve found my fuel.

  42. skovgaard

    and to Omft: What is wrong with Lorna? What do you think you do that is more sober the she does. Sober….. That´s a child born.
    The rest is growing up. Religion as a parasite. Parrents this and that. Take your driver license, boy! or u are not a real man! Fuck that. Fuck me. Read some Albert Camus. It is dangerous territory but it´s safe. As the Russian tale goes – you can travel to the end of the world but never get a ticket back, telling the whats right and wrong. Never.
    Skovgaard.
    Still going. I´ve found my fuel.

  43. isabella mori

    skovgaard – i’m not sure i understand everything you say there but you bring up an interesting question – what IS an addiction?

    cynthia jane collins has an interesting definition:

    “if we habitually or compulsively – with or without awareness or intention – use any activity, substance or person[s] to move us away from our true selves, we are practicing addictive behaviours.”

    and then there are the more mainstream professionals – my good blogging friend therapydoc among them – who want to take great care in distinguishing “addictions” from “dependencies”.

    lots of points of view. as you say, skovgaard, we won’t get very far if we try to pin it down to what’s right.

    but i think we can learn from exploring different ways of thinking about it.

  44. isabella mori

    skovgaard – i’m not sure i understand everything you say there but you bring up an interesting question – what IS an addiction?

    cynthia jane collins has an interesting definition:

    “if we habitually or compulsively – with or without awareness or intention – use any activity, substance or person[s] to move us away from our true selves, we are practicing addictive behaviours.”

    and then there are the more mainstream professionals – my good blogging friend therapydoc among them – who want to take great care in distinguishing “addictions” from “dependencies”.

    lots of points of view. as you say, skovgaard, we won’t get very far if we try to pin it down to what’s right.

    but i think we can learn from exploring different ways of thinking about it.

  45. Eden Maxwell

    In Retrospect:

    Having witnessed the destructive power of substance abuse, I empathize will all who have suffered through addiction–attachment to anything makes us the slave of that thing–name your poison or passion.

    Here is apt excerpt from my book, An Artist Empowered, that picks up after my long talks with Oscar ‘Oz’ Janiger who, in the 1950’s and ’60’s, conducted legal experiments to determine whether LSD could enhance the creative process.

    Fast forward: Here are my thoughts about my experience with Oscar. As I said, it was evident that looser lines or more intense colors après LSD did not an artist make. And those images created by the volunteer artists were not significantly unleashed, either.

    Having no direct experience with LSD, my information is secondhand. But, based on my conversations with Oz, and what people have said and written about their acid-induced trips of cognitive shifts and waking dreams, I intuitively understand this: while painting I am experiencing an organic version of such a synthesized trip naturally–not as uncontrollable hallucinations but as revelations of reality. This phenomenon takes place in concert with trusting the cosmic mind to guide me. Taking this sort of guidance may seem effortless to an onlooker, but it isn’t an easy thing.

    The upshot: the topic of drugs and art is a volatile one; and we know that many an artist has, with disastrous results, turned to drink or substance abuse to cope with feeling blocked, rejected, or even accepted. If you think that ingesting substances will make you a better artist or give you courage, then you don’t yet see a clear picture of what I am writing about in this book. An artist in dharma is already ‘perfect’ because he acknowledges the source of his gift. Nothing from the outside can improve upon the inner harmony that already exists. If you have a gift of art, you are then also charged with a duty: you must protect that gift from any vice that would destroy it. And, have no doubt, the dark forces are forever attempting to seduce a creator from his mission, as we know from Buddha and Jesus; each had to confront the lord of illusion in their inner journey toward Nirvana and the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Eden Maxwell’s last blog post..Metaphysical Shoe

  46. Eden Maxwell

    In Retrospect:

    Having witnessed the destructive power of substance abuse, I empathize will all who have suffered through addiction–attachment to anything makes us the slave of that thing–name your poison or passion.

    Here is apt excerpt from my book, An Artist Empowered, that picks up after my long talks with Oscar ‘Oz’ Janiger who, in the 1950’s and ’60’s, conducted legal experiments to determine whether LSD could enhance the creative process.

    Fast forward: Here are my thoughts about my experience with Oscar. As I said, it was evident that looser lines or more intense colors après LSD did not an artist make. And those images created by the volunteer artists were not significantly unleashed, either.

    Having no direct experience with LSD, my information is secondhand. But, based on my conversations with Oz, and what people have said and written about their acid-induced trips of cognitive shifts and waking dreams, I intuitively understand this: while painting I am experiencing an organic version of such a synthesized trip naturally–not as uncontrollable hallucinations but as revelations of reality. This phenomenon takes place in concert with trusting the cosmic mind to guide me. Taking this sort of guidance may seem effortless to an onlooker, but it isn’t an easy thing.

    The upshot: the topic of drugs and art is a volatile one; and we know that many an artist has, with disastrous results, turned to drink or substance abuse to cope with feeling blocked, rejected, or even accepted. If you think that ingesting substances will make you a better artist or give you courage, then you don’t yet see a clear picture of what I am writing about in this book. An artist in dharma is already ‘perfect’ because he acknowledges the source of his gift. Nothing from the outside can improve upon the inner harmony that already exists. If you have a gift of art, you are then also charged with a duty: you must protect that gift from any vice that would destroy it. And, have no doubt, the dark forces are forever attempting to seduce a creator from his mission, as we know from Buddha and Jesus; each had to confront the lord of illusion in their inner journey toward Nirvana and the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Eden Maxwell’s last blog post..Metaphysical Shoe

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