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9.2.10

Formative

"I had a wish to be an artist. Was that not mad of me? I had this work of art I wanted to make, don't ask me what it was, I don't know; something epic, mibby, with the variety of facts and the clarity of fancies and all of it seen in pictures with a queer morbid intense colour of their own, mibby a gigantic mural or illustrated book or even a film. I don't know what it would have been, but I knew how to get ready to make it. I had to read poetry and hear music and study philosophy and write and draw and paint. I had to learn how things and people felt and were made and behaved and how the human body worked and its appearance and proportions in different situations. In fact, I had to eat the bloody moon!"

"Duncan, remember what your headmaster said! In four years you can be head librarian in some small country town and then you can make yourself an artist. Surely a real artist could wait four years?"

"I don't know if he could. I know that none ever did. People in Scotland have a queer idea of the arts. They think you can be an artist in your spare time, though nobody expects you to be a spare-time dustman, engineer, lawyer or brain surgeon. As for this library in a quiet country place, it sounds hellishly like Heaven, or a thousand pounds in the bank, or a cottage with roses round the door, or the other imaginary carrots that human donkeys are shown to entice them to all kinds of nasty muck."
- Alasdair Gray, Lanark

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