Substance + Form


Written by
Malcolm Chambers
around :
12.3.22 11:10 am
there :
Write back :

This friend recently told me about her difficulty marrying style and substance in her writings. Like it was her duty to ensure the utility of her passage here on Earth. I think that in a way, I've always shared her anxiety of being known in my shallowness, of having brought to the world nothing but my person, of, in other words, baring no impact other than the space I've occupied in my time here. I'm not saying I've conquered this fear either. I do take refuge in the thought that no idea is truly original.

In the creative world, ideation seems to be the luxury only genius can afford. We think that award-winning ideas, historical concepts are reserved only to the most talented among us. That's where most of us block. Because why bother? Why try at all when we know most won't care? So we censor ourselves in a fashion perfectly opposed to the mindset of those we idolize.

I believe this to be the case. Great designers, musicians, writers, architects and artists have understood this one thing : We do not have ideas, we are ideas.

Art then becomes an act of liberation. To claw away at oneself like a sculptor would at the clay. But you can only uncover an idea with questions. And to uncover means to remove everything which is not the subject. So, who are you when no one else is around? What would you see if only your eyes could see? What would you say if no one dared oppose you? If you are afraid of the answers, good. You now see the mountain ahead. At least you can choose to climb now. Most of us won't dare to.

That's because most people would rather be interesting than interested. They want to know how they are going to be useful and in being useful, you have a much higher chance of achieving your goals by building upon the bricks others have laid before. You are adding to a network of references. The artist's purpose is to let go of any previous reference and to aim towards self-recognition. That's probably why a lot of us abandon the quest. We are looking for relevance in the wrong place, in the eyes of others. But we are not the ones that should decide who our craft will have an impact on. We are trailblazers. Who ever the fuck is crazy enough to follow you in the unknown is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to be daring enough to leave in the first place. Your profit should and will not be fame. If you are creating for fame, you fall in the trap of associating with your ego instead of setting it free. Looking to be admired through your art is akin to looking for peace through a weapon.

If you are to write, write for yourself first.

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