Brian Nation

This is from the blog of my old friend Brian Nation, a truly gifted writer—although he’s not a famous writer because, as he said at one point, he found it more enjoyable to act at being a writer than to actually be one. Spoken like a true artist. Anyway, in his perception:

“Capitalism hates art more than ever.”

These words deserve to be singled out. As counter intuitive as the current market makes them seem, they are absolutely true. Brian doesn’t make art or music, though he feels them both strongly. In another post he recounts what happened when, at the age of fourteen, a teacher introduced him to e.e.cummings:

“As he talked I read the lines and fires started in my toes and spread up through my groin, my belly, chest and finally my brain setting off a bomb of amazed excitement. My whole body shuddered, my eyes bugged out. It was as though I’d been sitting there in the back of that dark room for nine years, nauseated — half-asleep, and somebody opened a door and let in a blaze of sunlight.
I had no idea such poetry existed or was even possible. I couldn’t wait to get home and start writing. A world had opened up and I rushed in, leaving behind, or so I thought, the dark rooms forever. It affected everything I thought or did from that day on.”

Now that’s spoken like a true artist. Even taking into account his age and discounting e.e.cummings, he has the true motivation and displays the true signs. Today I very much doubt such responses are common. How many artists catch fire like that? Such people don’t go to art school—they instantly sense how far away from the real thing it is. Is art anymore the doorway to the possible? It must be, but despite the enormous growth of the art world, it still only matters to the same lucky few.

Photo of Brian Nation by Anna McGarrigle from 1966 or 67. Ste. Catherine Street, Montreal. As he says about it: "Contrary to appearances I was NOT a hippie. I was an artiste. Or as one landlord put it when he refused to rent his flat to me, 'pas d'existentialistes ici'".

Photo of Brian Nation by Anna McGarrigle from 1966 or 67, Ste. Catherine Street, Montreal. As he says about it: “Contrary to appearances I was NOT a hippie. I was an artiste. Or as one landlord put it when he refused to rent his flat to me, ‘pas d’existentialistes ici'”.

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