So I was organizing my Google drive today, when I found this old poem/song I wrote called the Currency of Love.
Yes, yes, I know, how pretentious.
And it was, at first glance. But then I got to thinking: Where exactly should we draw the line on what’s “pretentious”? I heard it said once, I believe by Jerry Holkins, who I will very loosely quote, that pretension is bullshit. If you are passionate, or driven enough, or feel compelled to speak and learn and create, then pretension is a myth. It’s assholes calling you out and stifling you as a person – there’s nothing wrong with wanting to create something beautiful or inventive.
It’s a nice way of thinking, though I wonder if artists could simply use that as a get out of jail free card. “You can’t criticize me, man! It’s art! You just don’t get it!” Much as I hate that particular attitude, (no one should ever be free of criticism or a desire to learn and grow), I can’t help but think it has a point. If you work hard and create something of value for yourself, who cares if anyone else “gets it”? It should have an intrinsic value to you as a person. Every thought, however random, inane, or flat out wrong that you put out there, forces you to grow when it’s confronted or conformed to.
I believe in calling people out for their ignorance, even if it opens myself up to criticism and disparaging comments.
I believe in creating art, because it makes us empathize, connect, and, ultimately, see the value in things beyond the surface.
I believe in working hard, no matter what anybody says about the value of money, time, effort, any of it, because even if it’s only to your direct surroundings, you have a responsibility to use your sensibilities to improve the lives of the people around you.
And you could say that all sounds pretentious – many would, I’m sure. But I don’t care. I will strive to be the best me that I can be, and if I sound pretentious along the way, who gives a shit. I’m trying to create here. And there’s absolutely nothing pretentious about that.