I don’t know who makes different movies. Or the names of band members. Or tour dates. I don’t know paintings by the painter or classical music by the player. I do know most books by authors, though. I don’t watch behind the scenes footage or live concert dvds. I suppose I am the worst kind of artist in that way. I don’t see other artists, I see their work. Collectively. The way I only want them to see mine, and not me.
You do, though. You could map out the paths between the people in the bands and who influenced who. You could categorize movies by director or score composer. You respect artists by listening to their music the way they intended, the way they naturally evolved. Album by album. Learning the musicians. Learning the artists.
And I just hope that you can understand that I take things in differently. That I remember concepts and not quotes; songs, melodies, and lyrics but not albums. I know people, but not by their title. Not by their factual. I used to think that this made me wrong. That this made me lazy or disrespectful. But I’ve always been this way with the whole world. I ask people what their tattoos mean but don’t question why they got them. I love graffiti that I can’t read and lines of poems that don’t make sense without the other ones surrounding them. I can love a song with all of my heart without ever being compelled to find more by the same artist. It is like every note is its own, every line in a book is its separate quote. I don’t hear the notes as “a” “g” “e minor”, I hear how they remind me of summer on Moon Lake Road. Or stretching my arms. I allow things to speak for themselves.
But please know that I am not wrong, or lying when I tell you I love art. Music. Movies. Stories, Books, People. It’s just that record collections, concert tshirts, biographies, and bonus footage has never grabbed me the way the goosebumps do on my neck when the drumming starts, when the lyrics unfold, when the chapter ends.
“To be great, be whole; exclude
Nothing, exaggerate nothing that is you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
The whole moon gleams in every pool.
It rides so high.”—Fernando Pessoa, To be great, be whole (from Poems of Fernando Pessoa, translated and edited by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown)