[“Edges 2”. Part of “The Edges” series. Click on image to enlarge…]
OK, so this weekend I did another “Live On The Edges” cartoon. I’ve been playing around with the idea A LOT in my head these last few days. More thoughts:
1. I prefer “Live On The Edges” more than “Live On The Edge”. Like I said in my last post, there are lots of “edges” out there. “The Edge” just sounds too “rock n’ roll lifestyle” for my taste. “The Edges”, at least to me, connote more of a feeling “Exploration” somehow.
2. Whether you prefer “The Edge” or “The Edges”, actually, I really don’t care. I really don’t think it matters either way. That being said, the blogosphere is chock full of semantic micro-managers, so I must be careful.
3. I was driving around town this morning, running errands, when suddenly it occurred to me: I have actually reached a fairly high state of what I would call “Cartoon-Enabled Personal Sovereignty”. In other words, I simply couldn’t do what I do without the cartoons. I’d have to go get a job somewhere. Ugh. My advice? Personal Sovereignty is an edgy business. Not for everyone.
4. Yes, of course, the Internet DOES make it FAR easier to be an “Edgeling”. I’ve been talking about that for years now…
5. I read somewhere that the average American today has a higher standard of living than Louis XIV, yet we’re all unhappy. Yeah, having read his history, I’m not sure King Louis was that happy, either. But hey, at least he wasn’t a 17th-Century French peasant. Count your blessings where you find them etc.
6. I’m agnostic. I see both “The Edges” and “The Middle” two sides of the same coin. Like the circle’s center and circumference, both need the other.
7. TV shows start out seeming kinda edgy, then after a while they seem mainstream and boring. This happens even when the writing’s quality stays high. We get used to stuff. We assimilate new forms of language, and then we move on. My cartoons are no different. Ashes-to-Ashes etc.
8. “Living on the Edges” for its own sake is a complete waste of time. “Mommy! Mommy! Look at Me! I’m living on the Edges! Can I have a cookie?” What’s more interesting, of course, is the idea of “Constant Renewal”, “Constant Re-invention”. Edges are a good place to go out and find it. You either have an appetite for it, or you don’t. You either have a talent for it, or you don’t. Life is unfair.
9. I remember when blogging was considered “edgy”. It was actually not that long ago. Now it seems rather mainstream. Like Point Number 7, we assimilate media as a new form of language, and then, again, we move on.
10. You get older and you start noticing how there’s a lot of people out there doing really interesting, crazy stuff, but then they go home and live these very ordinary, middle class, suburban lives. Hanging out with the family, cooking barbecue in the back lawn, movies and going out for Chinese food, playing frisbee in the park, it’s all good. Imagine the trouble these folk would get into if they didn’t have that kind of balance in their lives. By most standards, I would say I have a pretty “edgy” career. It’s why I live in West Texas in a quiet, sleepy town. It allows me push the edges internally without getting ripped apart externally. Living in Manhattan would kill me inside twelve months.
11. People often ask me, “How do you stay inspired over the long haul?” My answer: “By working hard”. Bliss through Toil, Baby. It’s all good.
12. “Edges” is not a lifestyle choice. It’s just something you do. It just happens. No, you have no real control over it.
13. All is Vanity.
Regarding #7 – I wrote a post regarding that EXACT topic. Click on my name to see it.
Your observation that “edgy” blogging now appears somewhat mainstream is correct, but some might also be misled by it.
Blogging surely does appear mainstream to those who do it and read it (and the more so, the longer they have been), but there are still a huge number of people who don’t engage in it and, to many of them blogging, still appears to be on the edges.
One person’s mainstream is another person’s edge and vice versa. Not only do the edges and the middle need each other, in some senses they can be each other. In other words, one doesn’t have to be edgy/wacky to be doing something on the edge.
P.S. Some might say that one person’s semantic micro-management is another person’s clarification, but not me ;o)
Coming from The King of Semantic Micro-Management, I found your last point amusing 😉
My title is actually Lord High Emperor ;o)
is living on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foula living on the edges. decelerating to a standstill, working hard at simple things.
Maybe Louis XIV would have been happier if he had a nice family in the burbs to play frisbee with him.
What a fantastic word Hugh!
I would like to hear more of your thoughts on Personal Sovereignty. And on how to find the Edges, but I think that’s more of a personal problem.
The Ecclesiastes passage is one of my favorites.
Y’know one of the reasons I read you? Because you write of topics that are applicable to such a broad spectrum of people. Gets me out of my art-centric, NYC-centric GoogleReader mode.
If I had been more sensible about my art career, I’d have gotten an MFA and stayed in Brooklyn (rather than leaving in 2001) and gotten in with the gallery crowd and clawed my way up, like most young&motivated American artists do.
Instead, I decided NYC wasn’t for me, upped sticks & taught art in Korea, photography in Cambodia, and have run a community gallery in Hong Kong. My publisher has just sent me to Vietnam to update his website gallerycyclo.com, and there are more projects on the way. None of this would’ve happened if I’d stayed in NY.
Every career has its benchmarks. Many of my american peers are striving for a solo show or three in NYC by my age; I’ve just looked for something else, and am still not quite sure what it is.
Glad I dipped in again to read your words on a rainy Canadian evening, Hugh – always makes me think! I’m also a marketer and advise entrepreneurs. Many are mired in a me-too general zone, concerned about choosing the ‘right’ edge … as if there were one. Their fear makes them invisible. I’ve always like the French sense of the word ‘marginal’ as in “t’es un peu marginale, toi” … I take it as a compliment. Hmmm. marginal marketing – ha! ;D
All is vanity indeed. I remember when I was a young teenager when I first read Ecclesiastes I was spell bound, I thought to myself did anyone else know that this stuff was in here?
At the end of the day we get all excited with ourselves on the “new” technology or process and we tend to forget that we are really doing the same behavior that humans have been doing since the dawn of man.
Technology just enables natural human behavior.
The stars at night… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QltlctqfY4E