A Curious Ambition


“So you want to be an artist”, my father had said.,” or at least an entertainer”. What’s the difference” I replied.” An entertainer helps people forget, but an artist wants to remind people of the truth: of  where they are. ” “That must be a good thing”, I said, “Telling them where they are, but with a dash of hope”. “It might be a good thing”, he replied ” But do people really want to know.” Knowing too much is a burden few men can carry”.

I played at nonchalance but my performance was unconvincing. And when I tried to be profound, I kept forgetting my lines. So I was left a man who nodded at strangers  in the park or dreamt of love among the coffee cups.

I realised, over a period of time, that to be an artist is often to be driven out of society by your own anxiety. To seek for answers were no one else has looked, or even worse, where everyone has looked and you find out, somewhere after youth, that you’ve been wasting your time and would have been happier working in a bakery. Then the lines you wrote when young come back to haunt you.

” Was he the  footballer with the photograph of fame. The writer with a frozen hand.  The average tragedy of second rate…Who dared to hope and stayed to pay the cost……Who gambled all open a dream and lost ?”

Is there anything worse than wandering off into the wilderness in search of truth, and finding that the truth is  wilderness.  Finding a purpose became part of the daily grind. One step ahead of just wishing to survive. A harsh journey marked by the development of good manners and the quest for a paying occupation. The one constant was uncertainty,  surviving on the edge of shelter. An unexplained presence at the railway station.

So here I was at last, hunched up in a coat given by some charity, and huddled with some others round a small fire, sipping tea supplied by a group of nuns. “What did you want to be when you were young” the small man asked. He was  surprisingly civilised. “Rich” I said, and we laughed. I didn’t like to admit to the art thing anymore

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, childhood, creative writing, employment, faith, Life, life2, Talent, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to A Curious Ambition

  1. catterel says:

    Ducks – you break my heart! I’m about to post on the same subject …Sob!

    Like

  2. Oh I just love this! A great, great accompaniment to my cup of coffee this morning.

    There is just so much in here I could go on and on. You write brilliantly!

    Christine

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  3. Purely.. Kay says:

    You ALWAYS wrap me up in your stories. ALWAYS. And the explanation of entertainers and artist was the PERFECt explanation. I’ve never heard it explained that way. I love this

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  4. winsomebella says:

    So much here to love but my fave is “finding that the truth is wilderness.” Another skillfully crafted post 🙂

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  5. Barbara says:

    Ohh the truth in this ,Peter, is painful. I denied my art for so long I was convinced it was too late. After that I would shrug off compliments given on something I’d done with “It’s nothing.” So many of us grew up being told there was no future in the ‘Arts’. But what future do artists have in suppressing their God given gifts? I made a vow to myself to honor these amazing gifts til the day I die.
    Thank you for this chance to vent a bit. 😉
    b

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  6. gotham girl says:

    This post went so nicely with my glass of Chardonnay tonight. Love it!

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  7. Beautifully written. I especially love the line “to be an artist is often to be driven out of society by your own anxiety.” So, so true.

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  8. Just read this three times over and sharing it with some friends – just beautiful. I agree with the above comment – have never thought about “artists” and “entertainers” in this manner, but can’t help but fully agree.

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  9. Ina says:

    This post is a lovely write again and I like the ending. You are now an artist btw, these blogs are art.. And you are also an entertainer! 🙂

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  10. Hang on to the dream – you are winning ….lots of love Chirri….(your poem stayed with me through all the decades…powerfully )

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  11. Lovely! I really enjoy how you weave some super interesting concepts into a narrative.

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  12. ““Peter,
    your words always find a way to drench into my soul. This is a gift.

    You. Are. An. Artist.

    Confession: Without Art / The Written Word, Poetry, God……. I would have parished long ago.
    you could say, it saved me. Xxxxx Lo00ve.

    Like

  13. Al says:

    These are words on canvas. Each of your posts is another word painting. I’d say your achieved your dream of being an artist many fold.

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  14. AH, loved this one, Peter! This line in particular: “Is there anything worse than wandering off into the wilderness in search of truth, and finding that the truth is wilderness.” I thought about it for some time and came to the conclusion that, yes, there is (at least for me) one thing worse–never wandering into the wilderness at all, never even trying to seek any form of truth, opting for blindness. Or maybe blandness…

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  15. Christine says:

    You crack me open ~ laughter and tears. My favorite moments in life tend to be at weddings … funerals … and stuck in an elevator type situations like long road trips where the real person fully emerges, you get to that part of me so quick. Thank YOU.

    BTW – I loved your grumpy comment about Kahlil. I was hesitanted to put that quote up. Parts of it resonate for me and others don’t anymore. As you can probably feel I think long and hard about which quote to share, I feel like I’m collaborating with another artist when I add the quotes and there have been times when I almost don’t add one like in todays post, next time I will follow my gut thanks to your grumpy real honest comment ~ which are my favorite : )

    Happy Heart Day ~ thanks for sharing yours ❤

    Like

  16. nelle says:

    As always, an insightful exploration. Ours can be a harsh journey, but no experience is wasted if we give it its due and learn. We may not have found what we sought, but… perhaps we came away with something more precious… truth with a certain depth to it, rather than a superficial expectation.

    I’ve learned from my experiences, or at least hope like heck I have. I look at a lot of things quite differently now.

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  17. I have to be honest and state that sometimes your wisdom is beyond my years..

    I think you are both – an artist and an entertainer and that we thrive when we are both. To have the courage to explore and walk with your choice of expression and the ability to lighten the load and not take ourselves too seriously when we are stuck in the wilderness.

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  18. Here is another masterful piece and as I read, not only do I enjoy the words and the way you ‘arrange’ them, but also the thoughtfulness, compassion, and truth of their reflection. Excellent and I must share!

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  19. Chris Edgar says:

    Thanks, I really enjoyed this — I can definitely relate to the anxiety that the issues I’ve struggled with in the course of my growth are really just “old hat” to the majority of “society.” But I have become better at keeping in mind that everyone has their own places and opportunities to grow, and sets of natural talents, and I can’t begrudge myself my efforts to grow in the places where I need it.

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  20. Just…wow. I followed you hear from another blog, because I liked your name. Well, that’s the artsy part of me, I guess. I’m struggling with the feelings and doubt in this story lately, so it really touched me. Some days I really wish I had wanted to be rich. I think it would have been easier on the soul.

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  21. Lady E says:

    Hello CD ! I’ve been silent but following you from afar, and delighting in your entertainment, or is it art ? This post made me think about homeless people, and the stories they each hide behind the façade. x

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  22. Lafemmeroar says:

    Oh Counting … I always love reading your life essays … I do want to be like you when I “grow” up! The humor in this piece is heartbreaking in its honesty; yet, it is evidence that laughing at the malfunction of the universe is better than crying about it. Many live life always waiting for the lunch hour and when it’s time to hit the rush hour highway so they can go home, eat, rest, sleep and do it all over again. I like those people; they’re tenacious–I admire them. I also admire the rogue who dares to dream, to pursue answers where no one has looked before–I’m somewhere in between. I’m still searching. When I was young I used to love getting my palms read … I wanted to know the future … now that I’m older … I’m not so keen in seeing my future. Perhaps it’s fear or perhaps it’s in knowing that I’ve lived it … but I’m not giving up … I don’t want to know because I’d rather be surprised at the chaos that is sometimes my life.

    Like

  23. imadealiyah says:

    I nominated you for a Liebster Award:
    http://imadealiyah.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/and-yadda-yadda-yadda-i-got-nominated-for-an-award/

    I don’t follow a lot of blogs, or check back on posts often, but I follow yours and enjoy your writing. It’s thought-provoking and moving. I want people I know to know you too.

    Like

  24. Powerful thoughts. Definitely been though the same thing, studying the Arts and English.

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  25. eof737 says:

    This is close to the bone for me Peter… aye … 😦

    Like

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