Life’s Ups And Downs

Speaking of Irwin Shaw, ponder this:

“An American, starting at any given point, believes that his career must go from success to success. In the American artist, of any kind, it is the equivalent of the optimistic businessman’s creed of the continually expanding economy. The intermittent failure, the cadenced rise and fall of the level of a man’s work, which is accepted and understood by the European artist, is fiercely rejected as a normal picture of the process of creation. A dip is not a dip to an American artist, it is a descent into an abyss, an offence against his native moeurs and his compatriots’ most dearly held beliefs. In America, the normal incidence of failure, either real or imagined, private or public, which must be expected in such a chancy and elusive endeavor as writing novels or putting on plays or directing motion pictures is regarded, even by the artist himself, as evidence of guilt, as self-betrayal.” (from Two Weeks in Another Town)

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