Monday, September 03, 2012
The Edge of the World
For the past few weeks, I've been thinking about the edge of the world.
Actually, I'll admit I've gone further than thinking into a fixation, perhaps even a tiny obsession. Not full-blown, but it's constantly with me these days.
Where did it begin? A friend talking about a trip he wanted to take, a cruise that took him around the Horn - perhaps the most dangerous stretch of water in the world. He wanted to be able to say he'd done it.
I've got many books about explorers on my shelves: The Source of the Nile, The Kon-Tiki Expedition, The Conquest of Mexico. Books about explorers: Shackleton, Cook, Vancouver (of course!), Howard Carter. I'm fascinated by all of them - these men who chose to travel off the edge of the world, literally or figuratively. And then there are the Vikings, of whom I think most often - how they left home in a tiny boat without a single clue as to whether there would be land at the end of their voyage. They set sail into nowhere.
Artists do this same thing, maybe not every single day, but on most days, at least for me, I step into my ship and sail off, knowing I might sail right off the edge of the world.
It's exhilirating and incredibly frightening. But we're explorers, we artists, and we don't have any choice.