It feels as though every day this week has brought the sad news of the untimely death, the extinguishing of another bright flame. I don’t know the details of these people’s lives, but their deaths are public information, as everyone tries to understand what went wrong.
Jane Austen said money won’t bring you happiness unless there is nothing else in your life to bring it. That’s a product of her era. In our era, just about every person who has achieved wealth and fame will assure us that neither will bring you happiness. But why is everyone so hell bent in finding out for themselves.
When I tell people I’m writing novels, they say “you’ll be the next JK Rowling”. I’m a member of lots of writing groups on Facebook and one thing that so many first-time writers have in common is they are chasing fame and fortune, and if they’re honest with themselves, they’ll admit it.
I listen to enough podcasts to know that if I wanted to get rich and famous the last thing I’d do is write obscure stories about Paris and a blog on creativity!
I visited the MoMA exhibition here in Melbourne over the weekend. Modern artists such as Picasso and Warhol (different eras but both from the Modern era roughly 1860s to 1970s) were really the first artists to actively court fame.
There was a Rothko colour field that, on its own, sat calmly on the wall. But I was reminded of the visceral response I had to the Rothko room in the Tate Modern in London, surrounded as I was by pulsating canvases, only to discover later he succumbed to his depression just after creating these works. He had fame and success in his chosen field. He had the respect of his peers. He had a family. He had money.
But like so many before and after, I’m sure he would have given it all up for inner peace. As Rainer Maria Rilke said, “the only journey worth taking is the one within”.
Meditation is a good place to start, but please find a trusted teacher or guide.
My mind is a place I try not to go alone ~Anne Lamott