A Collection of Stolen Things
You have come to the most dangerous page of Life is a Fountain.
Elsewhere on Life is a Fountain things are borrowed. They are attributed. They are sources of inspiration. They are clear in their origins. They are respectful of authorship. Not here.
Here you will find things that are stolen. Stolen!
Is this right?
That’s not the question we answer on this page, not exactly. We just say:
I have invited myself to the smorgasbord of everything. I make nothing from what I do here. And this is what the penury buys me. This page.
It bought it for you too, so long as we are few.
8/12/21: Weird experiment day!
Today I am going through every page I have in Life is a Fountain and adding something hopefully relevant to it from the annals of Clerkmanifesto. It’s my desperate attempt to freshen up everything after being away for a couple weeks. So here you go (do please remember the dodgy, lying page you are on):
Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become the path himself.
I began in absolute chaos and darkness, in a bog or swamp of ideas and emotions and experiences. Even now I do not consider myself a writer in the ordinary sense of the word. I am a man telling the story of his life, a process which appears more and more inexhaustible as I go on. Like the world-evolution, it is endless. It is a turning inside out, a voyaging through X dimensions, with the result that somewhere along the way one discovers that what one has to tell is not nearly so important as the telling itself. It is this quality about all art which gives it a metaphysical hue, which lifts it out of time and space and centers or integrates it to the whole cosmic process. It is this about art which is ‘therapeutic’: significance, purposelessness, infinitude.
From the very beginning almost I was deeply aware there is no goal. … With the endless burrowing a certitude develops which is greater than faith or belief. I become more and more indifferent to my fate, as writer, and more and more certain of my destiny as man.
Picasso once said:
“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
Well, people said he said that. But he didn’t. It all probably comes down to T.S. Eliot saying “Immature poets imitate, mature poets steal.” And all the nonsense followed from there. Misattributions, reworkings, and a distorted entry into the cultural lexicon followed.
How do I know all this? I stole it from an article I read on the Internet. I hope Ian Shank was right about all this. But if one can’t trust Ian Shank who can one trust?
Who, you ask, is Ian Shank?
Let’s not dwell on these… “authors of things” here. His article is gone from him now, it belongs to the universe.
Good artists copy, great artist steal, but some of us, unnoticed, just finally stepped outside of the Pantheon,
and under so few eyes, start to feel the curious freedom of doing anything, absolutely anything.
Here is a recent blog post that not only belongs to this page, “Stolen”, but inspired me to take the time to add another 15 or 20 of my stolen pictures
If when you see some of the pictures on this page you are compelled to note: “Hey, I’ve already seen a lot of these pictures in lots of other places on Life is a Fountain!”
First of all, thank you.
Second of all, yes, I stole them.
On Life is a Fountain, which is where you are sort of supposed to be now, reading this, and maybe are, and maybe aren’t, I have a page called:
Actually, that’s where you are right now.
When I created Life is a Fountain I made a lot of pages that had to do with the things I have always written about. There are pages for Bob Dylan, and for Libraries, for Books, and Music, and for Animals, and Nature, and Politics. But “Stolen” was new. Stolen was a little shady. Stolen was about how, if I’m not going to be famous (and I’m not), if I’m not going to be read by thousands (I’m not), if I’m not going to get any money for working at writing and art every week all week long (I’m not going to get any money), then I am free to help myself to the entire history of art right up until the present. I’m free to make whatever I like with all things created by other people.
I’m not talking about plagiarism. Even if I don’t say that “Lucy” is by Charles Schulz, I am not passing it off as my own, and I have a reasonable assumption that you will understand the real creator of said character. But I have no real care about his credit, his co-option, or his estate’s rights. On Stolen, all is grist for the mill.
I don’t know who first said “Grist for the mill”, but it’s mine now!
This is an interesting question about Authorship, and copyright, and Capitalism. It is a real discussion about Art, and ethics, and fair use.
Sometimes I am very interested in it.
Sometimes I just want to put Daffy Duck at a check out desk at my library.
Funnily enough I have not put very much material yet on the “Stolen” page of Life is a Fountain. This is not because I have insufficient substance for the page. Rather it is because everything I have produced lately, in vast quantities, has belonged, exactly, here.
Daffy Duck waiting somewhat impatiently for someone at a desk at my library:
Lucy and Linus making their way through a Norman Rockwell painting:
A Donkey with low self esteem that I ran into on my creek yesterday morning. I think he found some thistle!