I was going to scare a visiting friend of mine with a rubber snake, and then my better self took over and I couldn’t go through with it, and I confessed to him my dastardly plan. The next day I found the rubber snake moved to a different place in the garage. Figuring my friend had put it there to get back at me, I picked it up with much satisfaction that my moral standards were far too high to play a mean trick like planting a fake rubber snake on an unsuspecting person, but that others in this world did not hold such high standards for themselves.
That’s when the snake bit me, and as I watched it slither off to a different part of the garage after dropping it on the ground, I reflected upon what a fool I was for having a rubber snake when real snakes are around, so that I would have trouble distinguishing one from the other. So I got what I deserved, and learned something new: Rubber snakes and Woodstock don’t go together. I think I’m going to get a life-sized stuffed bear next…
One of the big secrets that a lot of people never quite get is that the greater the work of art, the greater the humility of the artist.
This is the simplest form I can think of to describe it: When creating, you have to give yourself over to the moment. In order to give yourself over to the moment you have to lose the ego. Once the ego’s gone, what’s left is humility.
Once a jazz musician gives themselves over entirely to the music (loses the ego) than he or she will be coming from what Far Side creator Gary Larson called an “intensely personal, and therefore original perspective.”
And this is the only way real art is created. Sometimes we look at our heros, or hear musicians talking “so and so has a huge ego” – no they don’t – not if they’re playing the real shit. Its always exactly the opposite. This has nothing to do with the rest of their life, however. Artists often tend to be self-indulgent, narcissistic as people in general, but once the horn comes out, you can hear when someone has moved out of their own way.