17 JULY 1997


Being an artist sometimes means having two resumes: one for your art work and one for your "work" work. When you're young it doesn't matter so much because you have so little history to relate. As you get older and you're expected to have taken on a certain number of adult roles the difference between the two can be confusing. How do they merge into one image?

Resume #1, the one that shows your life as an artist, has a form to it that's all high points and accomplishments. It's like a thorny rose. Beautiful but hard to grasp.

Resume #2, the jobs you've had in order to do the art, has to show smooth transitions from one level to the next. Smoothness is comforting, as Edmund Bruke pointed out, and employers will usually take comfort over beauty. A few high points but spread out with regularity is acceptable.

Some artists become commodities where the difference is undetectable, there's no border because their art work is their job. Others convince themselves that what they do (teach, write advertising copy, wait tables) is their art work.

This line of thought is going somewhere but I'm not sure where. Perhaps it's leading to a way to make an image of a multidimensional self, a relational self, an avatar that can contain contrary aspects.

Jekyll & Hyde? He was either one or the other but always both. Each had a resume.

Instead of a resume you have identification papers you have to present when asked by an official. The text of both selves is interwoven so that the official reads you as both a thorny free spirit and a smooth accomodating drone. Not text but texture, as Nabokov said and wrote about in Pale Fire.