Life and art

From Austin Storm
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If you've never been consumed by an art, it might seem strange to think of it in these terms - as an antithesis to life, almost, or at least as a kind of parasite. But the fact is, art can compromise, even in some way neutralize, the very experience on which it depends. If to be an artist is to be someone upon whom nothing is lost, as Henry James said, then it follows that to be an artist is to be in some permanent sense professionally detached. An artist is conscious of always standing apart from life, and one of the results of this can be that you begin to feel most intensely what you have failed to feel: a certain emotional reserve in one's life becomes a source of great power in one's work.

- Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss, 41