Thursday, December 8, 2011

The artist at work

 Gilbert Jonas found his true passion: painting. He is an artist who believes in his star and acknowledges that he will be granted much without ever deserving anything. He becomes  very popular and is offered to live on a monthly remittance awarded to him by a picture dealer. His wife is devoted to him and their three kids, and even though they hardly manage to live on that remittance, they happily adjust to make it happen.
  Jonas is content with everything the way it is. He does not waste time trying to change anything because he believes deeply in his star.
  His popularity grows so much that his picture dealer increases his monthly remittance. Everyday his house is crammed with visitors and disciples who claim to want to learn from him. In reality, they want to be praised, and so he praises them. He is also solicited to take an active part in exposing revolting injustices and supporting protests. Jonas is always available and strives to meet everybody's expectations, but, eventually, he finds it difficult to satisfy everybody. Then criticism starts to strike him, no matter what he does. In the process of trying to meet everybody's expectations, his family is pushed aside, his art is left behind. He is no longer able to paint much. He does not find the time and the serenity to create.
 When his best friend asks him about the criticism he endures,Jonas says to him:  "My painter friends who criticize me are not sure of existing, so they look for proofs, they judge and condemn. That strengthens them, it's a beginning of existence. They're so lonely. You have to love them." Then Jonas confides that he is not sure of existing either.
  When his reputation declines, Jonas takes a distance from everybody and struggles to find the core of his own existence. He searches for his star.
  He ends up building  a flooring halfway up the walls, a loft, to hide away from people. The story is filled with irony and humor. It exposes the conflict between the artist and the society he lives in. The artist could be any person in search for his identity when the expectations of others pull his strings in different directions, as a result of their own motivations, fears and interests.
     There is a transformation in Jonas as he tries to reconnect with his own star which, to me, is his source of inspiration and conflict, his true self, his unique way of looking at the world.
    Thank you, Albert Camus, for this timeless story.


  1. Thanks for posting this allegory. I see parallels with today's indie author--the dangers of spending all their time on platform and social networking. Thanks for the reminder of what's really important.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Rachelle. You find an interesting analogous situation. I also see parallels with what happens in our lives. When we start going to school we have to meet the teachers's expectations, our parents', our peers'. In other words, our true passions and motivations tend to be ignored. Just some more food for thought, here. Some people work on their passions later in life...

  3. That is a compelling allegory. Thanks for sharing it, and for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog. Somehow I feel that I should be a follower, but I didn't see my picture on your connect button. It's there now!

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  4. Thanks Ann! The same to you. I'm also very happy to follow your blog and I look forward to your blog entries.

  5. It ain't easy being creative. It seems that at one point I was able to create as often and as much as I liked. Nowadays, time seems to be scarce and everything else is competing for what should be creative time. Thanks for sharing this.

  6. This is an interesting and compelling allegory Julia. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

  7. Your welcome, Rachna. I'm glad you also find it compelling.
    J.L. Campbell, I feel the same way. Luckily, my will sometimes causes "miracles": Even when I am doing something else I feel that ideas flow into my mind from who knows where and I have to write them down and work on them as soon as I have the time.It gets very challenging. Happy holidays.


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