Due to having a lunch in London today this is being posted rather earlier than usual.
This is a different style from the stories that have gone before with a more satirical edge. Although this story is about an artist this could apply easily to other forms of creativity with writers also susceptible no doubt to the whims of fashion and fickle friends.
The Artist at Work
Gilbert Jonas is a painter who becomes successful and as he does so becomes popular and fashionable and his studio and cramped flat are always full of people that actually start to get in the way of him working. Those very same people that Jonas has seen as friends start to turn against him saying he is washed up. Jonas himself finds it harder and harder to paint to the extent that he completely stops and starts drinking and whoring. He comes clean with his wife and builds himself a make shift painting platform in the room at the top of his flat and stays up there becoming weaker and weaker until he falls down. His friends goes up to see what he has been painting on and there is a canvas turned to the wall with nothing but the single word solitary in the middle of it.
The moral here seems to be that it is unwise to trust the fickle friends of fame and unwise to give friendship and love to everyone . Creativity is something that is a precious commodity and needs the right environment to flourish and once that is removed then things go wrong.
Thoughts about the last short story in Exile and the Kingdom will come tomorrow…