'The crude reality'

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For. Miguel Angel Sanchez de Armas

When we watch a movie, we read a poem, a story, a novel, a painting... in short, every time we have the opportunity to witness the creative capacity of humans, that which amazes us, that reconciles us with our species, that passionate and that makes us feel that it is worth being here to enjoy these products of the human race, it also leads us to fall in love with an idyllic vision of creative work and we imagine the cursed poets and the tormented artists, without eating, without sleeping, longing for the visit of the muses to capture their art.

But these days it seems to me that this image is increasingly out of touch with reality. It is necessary to recognize that in the globalized world, creativity is also subject to greater competition. Art has entered, with greater emphasis due to globalization, a much larger market.

The act of creating is the product of work, discipline and knowledge. The creative process, however, has a mysterious ingredient.

Jean-Paul Sartre, referring to those who reviled the poet Paul Valery for being a bourgeois, he asked himself, in a syllogism that is like a dry blow: “Paul Valéry is a bourgeois. Why, then, are not all the bourgeois Valéry?

Examples are plenty. The anecdote comes to mind, which my source from Veracruz swears is true, but if it turned out to be an urban legend, it would not cease to be exemplary, about the creativity of "Flaco de Oro".

It was during the happy Mexican forties. It goes like this: at a spirited party, late at night and inhibitions evaporated, a goofball took the liberty of pontificating about Agustín Lara's creative gifts while humming “María bonita”.

"Of course," said the subject contemptuously. If he writes good songs, it's because he smokes marijuana!”

The unhappy man did not realize that behind his back, Lara heard the comment. Phlegmatic as the great Flaco was, he approached, produced a gold cigarette case, offered it to the miscreant and with a clear and courteous voice said: "Here... compose yourself!".

Why are not all scholars, knowledgeable and disciplined are good artists? There is a mysterious ingredient in the creative process that is linked to ineffable factors.

I think it may be linked to an act of rebellion, to an inability to accept things as the artist finds them at a given moment, be it in literature, in cinema, or in any of the arts.

It is no less true for a commonplace that in the arts the original themes were exhausted a few hundred years ago... and that the only novelty is the way in which they are approached.

From the saga of Gilgamesh, passing through the Golden Age, modernism, stridentism, the novel of the Revolution, magical realism and all current currents or to be invented, the original themes can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

For example, love. Boy meets girl. Cupid or Eros, or both, shoot them. Nature takes its course. A few years later, some teenagers in Crimea or in the Highlands of Chiapas wonder how they got there.

What's so original The bridges of Madison? A recycling of a love story identical to those that took place in Altamira or Teotihuacán a few hundred or thousands of years ago.

But when he asks her what the man she has slept with for 20 years and whose two children she carried in her womb is like, and she, embarrassed, can only reply: "He's very clean...", Eureka! There we have a different story.

There are also creative products that do not revolutionize art, that do not mark milestones, but are enjoyable products. These creations are related to the artists' need for expression. That is to say, the impulse is more internal than external, the external forms are sufficient and adequate for what the artist wants to say.

The writer does not need to revolutionize any of the genres, he only needs to capture his story. The plastic artist can use the existing forms to create his visual message of form and color.

The products of creation are also inserted in the logic of the market. And it seems to me that creators are increasingly aware of this fact. Gustavo Sainz I used to say that they once played a record of Edith Piaff to an African tribe. The members of the tribe began to squirm and run scared upon hearing the shrill voice of the Piaf.

Sainz liked the example because he said that writers, although they do not want to admit it, at the time of writing, they think about their possible audience... that from the outset it eliminates all the illiterate, then - at least in his case - it eliminated everyone the literates who did not consume literature books; then the group was further reduced because only the narrative readers remained and the concentric circle became smaller to reach the novel readers.

Among these, there is also the public that consumes novels by genre, by nationality, by era.

So even intuitively, the artist has a potential audience in mind and writes for them as well. Generally, the personal satisfaction of the creator is combined with the satisfaction of an audience that he already knows or that he wishes to conquer.

I have also thought that the creative act still has a lot of messianic, of saving attempts. I believe that for this reason there are artists who consider their work to be something sacred and I do not doubt that many think so -and some say so- that the act of creating brings them closer to becoming gods.

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Nathan Rivera
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