In my youth, when inspiration struck me, when it really pierced me to the heart, plunging its spear to the core of my being, I was sometimes overcome by the feeling that God was speaking through me. "I am your vessel, O Lord!" I would exclaim (in my head). "Do with me what you will!" But then, a few days later, I would read what I wrote and think, "Well that sucks."
Such is the outrageous hope (and arrogance) of the young artist. Or so I'd like to believe. I'd hate to think I'm the only one who has harbored such extravagant delusions of grandeur. But these flights of fancy are necessary (fingers crossed) to give many artists the courage for the giant leaps into the unknown that great art requires.
My forays into the void have largely been fueled by that supreme (some would say "delusional") self-confidence. Of course, the grander my delusions, the more vulnerable they are to puncture. The work of which I'm most proud is also the work I can least bear to hear criticized. It's a paradox that has kept me from sharing much of my writing.
But what kind of confidence is popped by the tiniest needle? Not a terribly useful kind, that's for sure. It would be better to call it "self-importance" rather than "self-confidence." I invested too much of my sense of self-worth in my art. The truly self-confident artist would submit their work for review and use the feedback to refine their craft.
I just wanted people to tell me how good (and great) I was. The art was merely a device to cultivate external validation.
Funny how my insecurity manifested as an artistic Messiah Complex: "The world needs to hear this! No longer can I keep these works of genius to myself! I was put on this earth to share my vision with Humanity and lead Mankind to a glorious new Golden Age!"
Recalling the proportions of those fantasies, I wonder about the depth of my pain. Is that what inflated my delusions? Or was it just the arrogance (and ignorance) of youth?