I have known a number of artists who were unpleasant human beings – unpleasant in the way they treat others, and in the way they view themselves. They see the rest of the world from a distance, measuring the value of others by their usefulness to the biggest ego in the room.

I used to think that my quest for artistic heights was an excuse, even an invitation, for bad behavior. Now I realize that achievement and mean-spiritedness are only related if we are willing to be spiritually lazy. There is no reason to choose between artistic accomplishment and interpersonal sensitivity.

I know artists who are rotten human beings, and I have no patience for them. Others may say, “well, sure he’s a pain in the ass, that’s part of being a genius,” but I refuse to go along with that tandem. Nobody has to be a saint, but viciousness shouldn’t be tolerated. Besides, some of the greatest artists I’ve known have been lovely human beings.

A terrific imagination – even an enormous ego – is no excuse for a small mind.

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