Henry Darger and the Perseverance of a Lifetime
I’ve been getting into the #everyday “movement” (if we should call it that). I’ve always been interested in the great things that can come or of small but repeated efforts.
Henry Darger is somebody who demonstrates the incredible output possible when one focuses on daily work practice (and without the distractions of external validation).
Henry wrote a 15,000+ words novel (maybe we need a better word for a work like that), drew feet and feet of illustrations, and kept the record of it all inside his apartment. The title of the novel is The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion.
When I say novel, I mean it in the old-fashioned sense — not graphic novel or illustrated novel or picture book. The mesmerizing paintings for which Darger’s become famous tell a similar, perhaps the same story (no one’s read the whole novel, so it’s not clear), but the book itself consists of page after page, volume after volume of tight, condensed, single-spaced blue type.
Besides his novel, Darger had other curious daily habits:
Darger had other unusual habits. He attended Catholic mass three or four times a day at St. Vincent DePaul Church
Darger began keeping the first of six weather journals on Dec. 31, 1957. Always fascinated by the weather, he reported on it almost daily from first-hand observations until Dec. 31, 1967.