Big Lift Ferry Poem F386

I know I shouldn’t
Try to succeed at art but
I can’t help trying –
I just need to be myself –
But I’m all about trying




Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion.



Notes to this poem…

A paradox I’m trying to resolve in life as an aspiring artist. I do want to be successful, but am of the mind set that I’d have to work for it rather than just sit back and think it’ll just happen. The problem with my views of how to succeed in art is that it happens in the artist just authentically being himself or herself, and through that and/or some other circumstances, they will succeed. I’ve analyzed a lot of successful artists beyond those just making a decent or good living, i.e. the “famous” artists, and have concluded this to be true aside from a small group that had truly extraordinary skills like some from the Renaissance.

I don’t want to write out the entire complex debate I had with myself about this, but I recently realized that a big part of my true self is trying different things. I don’t actually often try to “succeed” as in attain a high level, but competency, which is success in its own way. I didn’t aspire to run a marathon, let alone the Boston marathon, when I started distance running, for example. I just wanted to be able to run distance. Problem with applying it to art is that I end up trying to succeed when I deem an artist shouldn’t try to succeed. Perhaps if I just think of aiming for competency, as with the running, I’d at least give myself the best chance at  bigger success, whether it would ultimately happen or not. It’d be about giving myself that best chance, as per my #1 life philosophy – the best thing one can give someone, including oneself, is a chance.

The F-series poems are part of a collection composed on my ferry rides across Halifax Harbour when the buses aren’t crossing the MacDonald bridge due to the Big Lift bridge redecking. This should keep happening until at least December 2016.


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