I got home just a few minutes ago, frankly starving. My lovely wife offered to make dinner, and to kill some time, I decided to bang a blog out (not this one… this came in between that and desert). I had mostly finished writing when dinner was done, and somehow, I was no longer hungry. What gives?
There’s this old cliche called the starving artist, who sacrifices material possessions (food is a material?) in order to dedicate more resources towards their art. I was a starving artist for a time, hardly able to buy what I needed, much less what I wanted, never able to afford nights out with friends. And that’s not the case now that I have a 9 to 5 of my own. And yet, when I write, the rest of me is…
Sated. That would be the best word. I don’t think appeased works. Quelled? The point is, hunger can’t touch me. Because I’m not there right now.
I become weirdly numb after firing on all cylinders. A similar thing happens when I’m in “day job” work mode, where I have to just be on and answering. This exhausting rigor of smiling professionalism that feels inhuman because you are trying to present yourself as better than human. It leaves me fried, and somehow hungry. The food I crave in that state isn’t sustenance, it’s excitement – the jolt of pleasure that flavor can provide. Something to do and enjoy. To revive my mind, which has become so burnt.
Considering that, it’s strange that after working just as hard on my writing, powering through, I’m so indifferent to food. It’s almost as though I dug myself into a hole and I’m too tired to even lift myself out. I grudgingly take bites of my dinner, and as delicious as it may be, it can’t hold my attention. This removal I feel from writing is far more potent than the one at my day job. Perhaps because it fires on other cylinders, located closer to my heart and soul. It allows an access to a form of clarity for a single moment. And instead of trying to return from it, I bask in it. I draw a different kind of satiety and comfort from it.
Artistic enlightenment is not so mighty as to eliminate the need for regular meals and a healthy body. It’s only nourishment for the soul, I’m afraid. But time and again, I starve in its pursuit, because there couldn’t possibly be anything more that I need.