Speaking of teachers, my master seems to have finally accepted the fact that he's no painter. Here's what he penned in his journal on the 1st of December.
At today's gathering, I met Mr. So-and-So for the first time. They say he indulges in debauchery, and he certainly presents himself as a man of the world. Men of his kind have a knack for attracting women, so while he may indulge in debauchery, it's by necessity more than by choice. I hear, with due envy, that his wife is a geisha. Fundamentally, those who bad-mouth a ladies' man are those who fare poorly with women. Even among self-professed ladies' men are many of these incapables. Facing no such necessity for debauchery, much less the required talents, they pursue it nonetheless. As with my foray into watercolors, there's scant prospect of mastery. Be that as it may, they delude themselves, masquerading as men of the world. If drinks over dinner or trysting calls could make one a man of the world, then I'd declare myself, by the same logic, a competent painter. Paintings like mine are better left unpainted. In the same vein, a bumpkin fresh from the hills is preferable, by far, to an assinine "man of the world" pretender.
This discourse on men of the world is a little hard to swallow. Then too, envy of another man's geisha wife strikes me as both idiotic and unbecomming of a teacher. In turning a critical eye to his own painting, though, the master was spot on. However, in spite of his new self-awareness, he remained in the grips of conceit. After two days' pause, on the 4th of December, he penned the following.
Last night I dreamt that one of my paintings, which I'd set aside as hopeless, had been taken by someone, mounted in a handsome frame, and hung above the door. Seeing it framed like that, it was suddenly sublime, if I dare say so myself. I was elated. For some while I gazed at it, there by myself, in admiration. Then dawn broke and I awoke. My painting, in the light of day, was lousy as ever.
Even in his dreams, it appears, the master is a frustrated artist. And a frustrated artist, too, is lacking in mettle to ever become a so-called "man of the world."