Bohemianism - A Manifesto
Dedicated to Tanya, who shares my vision of perfect happiness and who helped me far too much with this for me not to mention her.
The dictionary definition of a bohemian is ‘A person with artistic or literary interests who disregards conventional standards of behaviour.’ That pretty much sums me up… I could never understand conventional behaviour and to me perfect happiness is to be steeped in art and literacy.
I can’t understand the charm in routine or the long hours people spend doing something they don’t enjoy for money they don’t really need. There is no difference between the happiness level of people just above the poverty border and the level of millionaires. We don’t need money to be happy, what we need is to do what we love, and for most people that is art, whether it be performance, music, painting or indeed creative writing, for that is an art in itself.
What is seen as socially acceptable today is so oppressive, having to be places at certain times and school children having to ask to go to the toilet, I am aware that school environments have dramatically changed for the better in the last fifty years, the children today are more free and more able to express themselves, we still haven’t reached an ideal, students still have to wear uniform and still have to ask to go to the toilet but at least it’s getting better.
I don’t think that children today are aware of the beauty of art, they are lulled into believing that the more you earn, the happier you will be so you better smart up or you’ll never get a job. I have believed this for most of my life and it is only recently I have realised that I can only be happy doing what I really love, which is painting, playing the piano and writing. I have heard young people say far too many times, ‘What I really want to be is an actor, but I would never be able to get into the business and earn anything.’ Nothing makes me angrier than people not having the courage to follow there own dreams and believe in themselves but it’s because of today’s teachings about what is socially acceptable there are far to many people stuck in jobs where they aren’t happy without the motivation to walk out of the door and do what they love doing, everyone has a love.
Bohemians are the most cultured people on earth, they are willing to love and take interest in other peoples cultures, they travel and do what they love, I don’t believe anyone if they tell me that is not what they want to do, do what they love, even if that isn’t traveling.
So whatever your love I suggest it good if you dive in and follow your dream, it’s the only way you can reach happiness, don’t let fears keep you back because once you’ve reached your goal you will never forgive yourself for not doing it sooner. It’s the only way you reach absolute bliss is by following what you love, a euphoria that money could never provide.
You haven’t known happiness at it’s fullest until you have your own rules, ignoring convention standards, sat in the moonlight thinking about how happy you are.
Many of the arguments against bohemianism used in the nineteen hundreds are no longer valid today, it has become more socially accepted although it is still frowned upon but I don’t think that we care, I have never met a truly happy person who hasn’t taken on the bohemian ideas of beauty and love.
At the beginning of the nineteen hundreds it was frowned upon immensely, people thought it was preposterous to write and paint all day and talk about love. People in those days were so stiff they couldn’t get around the fact that these people were blissfully happy in the squalor they were living in, they didn’t understand, no one’s going to let you sleep in a gutter nowadays, the government, your family and friends can support you.
It is quite possible to earn enough to live off with a bohemian lifestyle; you will get paid for your paintings, or paid for performing your music or acting in a play. Many people do it; some people become millionaires doing it, if money is an issue to you.
So far I have focussed mostly on the love of art and how that should affect ones life but I think what is probably more important to humans is our love for each other. I guess that about 99% of our actions are motivated by love, whether it be love for someone else or trying to get other people to love us. We work all of our lives to save up for that sports car, but why do you really need it? Because it affects others opinions of us, we want to be loved. In the bohemian lifestyle people appreciate that we need to love and be loved and therefore everyone loves everyone else for who they are, regardless of their talents or their sports cars… everyone is a community and there is no need for a false façade in a bohemian environment, it would do anyone the world of good.
So I urge you, whatever you want to do, whether you want to paint on the streets of Parris or play piano in the Royal Albert Hall, go and do it, don’t waste your life, your years are limited and shouldn’t be wasted. All you need is love.
(c) Hannah Little 2004
A lawyer: a millionaire. Works nine hours a day.
Her sister: a musician. Plays French horn every night in the jazz club down the street.
Thanks for reading, can I please remind you not to publish this anywhere else without my permission.