from a letter to a friend

November 28, 2007

Anaïs Nin felt that the albatross, the lunky, clumsy, idiot bird, was an excellent symbol for the artist. Albatrosses travel great distances all over the world, you know, but they don’t fly, not really. They take advantage of the winds they push against them by extending their wings in a combinational maneuver of gliding and soaring. They are able to take advantage of the forces acting against them. That she relates it to the one other creature which relies on hostility—the artist—is apt.

That is the image I had in my mind for a long time; that no matter how many attempts I made in art and love I was, like the albatross, only relying on adversity. But I’ve given up wrath, or so I think, and lust, and even apathy. Now I think of myself more of a magpie. Flitting about from place to place, collecting whatever precious trinkets I can claim for my home, all the while emitting an unharmonious warble recognizable to only a few other creatures. And I do not care if there are better singers, and I do not care if I am interrupting someone’s dinner, and I do not care for the owner of the artifacts which I steal and make my own: for I am a magpie, and this is all I know.