“Intoxicated with the madness, I’m in love with my sadness…”
—The Smashing Pumpkins
In his younger days dodging the draft, Chris somehow wound up in the Marine Corps. There’s a myth that Marine
training turns baby-faced recruits into bloodthirsty killers.
He says, “Trust me, the Marine Corps is not that efficient. What it does teach, however, is a lot more useful.”
The Marine Corps teaches you how to be miserable.
This is invaluable for an artist.
“Marines love to be miserable,” he says. “They derive a perverse satisfaction in having colder chow, crappier equipment, and higher casualty rates than any outfit of dogfaces, swab jockeys, or ﬂyboys, all of whom they despise. Why?…
“Because these candy-asses don’t know how to be miserable.”
The artist—whether it be a writer, painter, musician, etc.—committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not.
The artist will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.
The artist must be like that Marine. He has to know how to
be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey.
“Because this is war, baby.
“And war is hell.”
*excerpt from The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield, 2002.