A Poem About My Misery

Working on the Sistine Chapel was so unpleasant that Michelangelo wrote a poem about his misery.

In 1509, an increasingly uncomfortable Michelangelo described the physical strain of the Sistine Chapel project to his friend Giovanni da Pistoia.

“I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture,” he wrote in a poem that was surely somewhat tongue-in-cheek. He went on to complain that his “stomach’s squashed under my chin,” that his “face makes a fine floor for droppings,” that his “skin hangs loose below me” and that his “spine’s all knotted from folding myself over.”

He ended with an affirmation that he shouldn’t have changed his day job: “I am not in the right place—I am not a painter.”

Link to article here.

I laughed aloud a little at Michelangelo, especially imagining him with his stomach squashed under his chin. Then a moment later I sat quietly and pondered how a man so much in “misery” could or even would produce something so breathtakingly beautiful.

I think he secretly loved the ache.

When you do what you love, and love the art you make, you have this kinship with it no one else can understand. You’ll do it for free, you’ll do it for money. You’ll do it for friends, you’ll do it just for yourself. You’ll gripe about it but you’ll want to punch the living daylights out of anyone who does the same. You can hate what it brings out in you and at the same time get high on that feeling once you’ve given your all.

Working today with one of the most talented young aspiring pro-photographers I know, he worked non-stop for 9 hours straight even though his back killed him. He would bend over and back, squat and stretch. But he never took his hands off the camera.

Creating that masterpiece takes more time, saps more strength, confuses and loses me more coconuts than I care to give.

But I love the ache.

I am in the right place- I am a story teller.

Thinking of: How to improve as easy as it’ll be said.

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