Peter: well, as you note, if the...

 Posted on 7/22/1996 by STRACZYNSKI [Joe] to GENIE

Peter: well, as you note, if the response hadn't been as strong
as it is, we'd likely be off the air and it'd be a moot point. (Or, if
the show were swallowed into silence, maybe that'd be a mute point.) But
for the sake of argument, let's take a middle ground...sufficient ratings
to stay on the air, but zip in the way of direct response: no B5 forums,
topics, web pages...a silence vast as space.

I'd do exactly what I'm doing. I can't work any other way. I
believe in this show, in the story I'm telling, right down to my socks.
Not to be grandious, because I'm not even within 50 light years of this
class, his lifetime, Van Gogh sold exactly 1 painting, for (I
believe) 40 francs. Everyone considered him a failure. He lived with
his brother, who paid his bills, kept him in food and clothing, which he
felt VERY guilty about...nobody knew him, or his work. But what he
painted, he painted. He painted what moved him, what *meant* something
to him. And if the world noticed, or if it did not, that didn't change
what he saw, or the way he presented it on canvas.

He suffered greatly, endured greatly, but the work was the work.
It was in-between that his life was most disasterous, when he wasn't
working, when he wasn't *seeing*. And it was in that dry stretch that,
on a warm Spring afternoon, he went out into a field five miles from his
brother Theo's home, put a gun to his chest, and fired...out of guilt for
taking up so much of his brother's money, out of fear, out of failure,
the vessel not the equal of the talent it contained. (And even at that,
he failed; the bullet did not kill him at once. He lay there for almost
an hour, then crawled back to Theo's home, where several hours later, he
died in his brother's arms.)

And now, today, industrialists and collectors pay millions of
dollars to hold one of his paintings to their eyes and peer through the
bars to greatness...for the chance to see what Van Gogh saw through those
tragic eyes.

The work is the work. To fall prey to despair when it isn't seen
for what (you hope) it is...or to puff proud like a pouter pigeon when the
crowds cry out your name...both are equally anathema to the creative drive.
You have to listen to the calm, clear voice in the back of your head and
paint what you must paint, write what you must write, dance what you must
dance and sing what you must sing, because to *not* do so is suicide, and
to do so for the wrong reasons, to appeal to the momentary trends of the
crowd, is a much slower but just as sure a death.

The story is the story, and the work is the work. There is no
other answer that would mean a damn.