Monday, May 30, 2011


And, because no matter how seriously I take something, I must still have humor, I open and close with two comics that I love.

To put our words out for the world to stare at is to make ourselves vulnerable. So why do it? What do we hope to gain that might balance the possible hurt and misunderstanding?

Part of it is, quite truly, that we can’t help ourselves. We think, we feel, we need to express it, and writing is a splendid vehicle. We feel we are sharing, but we never actually see anyone reading our hearts. Unless someone writes us a comment on what we so boldly sent out into that ephemeral reality, we'll never know their thoughts. But we also write because we are finding our way to understanding our relationships to the world, to other people, and to ourselves.

Art is deceptive: most especially music, but also poetry. Music gets into our very souls and creates in us extremes of mood that are not real, though based in our reality. Poetry, if it is to be understood, does the same. What intellectual involvement reading and reflecting require can be swept away by the emotions and images evoked. Painting, too, pulls us out of ourselves. Prose is the safest. One gets drawn in the world of the story, if it’s any good, but it is easier to keep clear where reality lies.

And yet, any writing can be our soul struggling to slip away from our rational mind. Our souls cannot face harsh sunlight, but rather, prefer to wander through shadowlands of allusion, illusion, metaphor, imagery of all types. They hold our hearts in their hands, and we watch their meanderings with a wondering, perhaps fearful eye. Have we given too much of ourselves? Too little? Have we communicated what we intended to express?

And does any of that really matter? Perhaps the greatest joy of any artistic endeavor is that what we meant to say is rather irrelevant. We’ve had all the turmoil, the agony and the ecstasy of putting our minds, our souls and our hearts into a concrete form. Now our auditors or our readers take what they can from it, and make it theirs.

Do we write to understand or to inspire understanding? Is creativity to show only your vision or is it present your vision in the hopes that others will use it to find visions of their own? It could, perhaps should be both.

To create is to see, to feel so intensely that it consumes you, but then to take that overwhelming urgent passion and turn it inside out, twist it, pound and shape it until it takes a form that reaches out from you into the perceivable world. It requires incredible courage and discipline, as well as an innate ability.

The frisson certain music gives; the gasp of involuntary response to a word, a scene in a movie or novel; the shimmering glimpses of empathy in a poem: these are human needs, human sympathies. What could be more important than that which makes us more human to one another?

Art speaks of love, of longing, and of the compelling urgent needs our bodies like to throw into all our endeavors. It speaks of our wistful desire to know another human, and to feel connected with them. It also speaks of trying to grapple with the meanings behind the illusions our minds delight in shaping.

What we perceive in ourselves is not the reality of who we truly are. It is what we want to be, what we think we are, what we are afraid we are. Writing is a catalyst that, like any creative act, exposes us, pulls us out of our flimsy shells, and forces us, if we have any interest at all in understanding ourselves and others, to look at things most people would prefer to gloss over.

As an artist, I put my naked soul out to be examined. What you feel when you read my words, whether of empathy or sympathy, or even disgust, is yours. But what I offered has now become both yours and mine.

Perhaps we are all interconnected on some level: perhaps not. But we do all feel, and some think, and creativity requires both. Take joy in being creative. It tears you to shreds, it fills you with elation: somewhere in between, it is you.

 I'm never quite certain of the etiquette of using images. Lolcats said to help myself. But just to be safe, here's the links to the two comics:

No comments:

Post a Comment