Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Portrait of an Artist Whining

The one thing that makes me regret my decision to go into medicine is to look at a lot of art.  Doesn't matter what kind, oil, charcoal, movies, comedy, magazine journalism, blockbuster reviews, bathroom stall wit; if I look at enough of it, I get nostalgic and think that I made a poor choice. Or that I've been in the bathroom reading wit for too long.

I know what you are going to say, "Meat, you are on this path to medicine, but you aren't excluded from making art.  You can maintain a shitty blog occasionally when you have time.  You can keep up 140 characters on Twitter to entertain Justin Bieber.  You can even make it two paragraphs into an essay or get the outline of a painting put on a canvas and then stuff it in your closet.  Is that not good enough for you?  Are you too good to get 1/3 of the way through a novel before winter break ends and you go back to working 12-18 hours a day?

"And what about the art in medicine?  You know, the times when you ignore data and evidenced based medicine and do something completely different for a patient because of a hunch?  Isn't that art? Isn't that enough?"

It is, you're right.  But it just get's me all philosophical.  What's the point?  Of philosophy that is.  Doesn't seem to accomplish much, just a bunch of questions and thoughts.  But that's what I miss, questions and thoughts. Provocation.  Product devoid of point. Thought devoid of goals.  Work devoid of "means", comprised only of "ends".  I love those ends.  I miss those ends.  Sweet delicious ends.  Like a cupcake, but where the ends are delicious.

But it is "means" that I have chosen.  Huge, long, winding, tortuous means to a theoretical end that is supposed to be awesome.  And it is.  The end is awesome and the means are most assuredly fun in and of themselves.  They absolutely fuel me and make me feel complete.  Taking care of patients, and learning about disease, those things make me feel complete. Almost.  Almost because they are decidedly devoid of art.

The questions I have for myself then, is can I work art into my career?  It's been done.  With poor outcomes mostly (Atul Gawande's literary talents would be the limping one picked off by the lions first, and don't get me started on that doctor turned stand-up who was in "Knocked Up".  If you do get me started, I'll probably make a bunch of shitty jokes, but then say how much I love "Community".  So don't do that), but I'm not sure I have to be awesome.  I think I can just be productive (i.e. adequate, mediocre).  I think I can be satisfied just producing art alongside my medicine. I just have to figure out how. Maybe I'll start a blog.


Julie said...

...again, Christine Korsgaard, Self-Constitution.

You can have it all, if you realize that You are the art you are creating. That which you create does not have to be external. Only problem is you have to think of yourself in the third person a good part of the time. Might create a problem at work.

Meat, M.D. said...

If I'm the art I create, I'm definitely quitting now. I knew I had no talent, but I had no idea.