I don’t think many people – even some artists – understand the role of art in the human mind. There are many fanciful things said and quite a few believed to excuse the behaviour of artists which taken in the round are little more than men behaving badly. On a purely non-academic surmise women artists are not quite as flaunting of their being as the men, probably because so many of the men have a woman to keep them grounded and put up with them, whilst the women rarely do.
I am sure people are born with a higher ability than others in various arts but I am also sure there are very intellectual reasons why artist choose their lives. Few artists are ‘joiners’ and the vagaries and passions of society are rarely of interest to them. And then some see their art as the deepest expression of their thoughts. Which is where the talk I give about politics and poetry takes it lead. Shelley was not being facetious when he said poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, because they talk about the universal and strip away the transient parts of society.
They are the ultimate commentators – at their best brutally honest, unafraid, writing to be listened to and effective. But the point of the poetry is not the writing or the words or the life of the poet, but the listener. If the listener is there everything has meaning.