Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ordinary People

I was sitting and thinking in preparation for tackling a short story and John Legend's "Ordinary People" took its turn in the music rotation. I dig the words to this song mostly because of the bridge...

"I hang up you call
We rise and we fall
And we feel like just walking away
As our love advances
We take second chances
Though it's not a fantasy
I Still want you to stay

I can relate that to a number of things but what makes The most since is writing. When I think of writing, I think nearly exclusively about my relationship to the craft. This is to say that a lot of times I don't always know how to think of myself outside of writing. Wait, I am not being completely honest. The truth is that I am less than ordinary in large part when I am not properly situated in a writing life. I am outside myself in these times and it is at these time that I am a liar, and fraud and a coward. Without writing I am most without myself and it is evident with every word I say to myself (defeating language) and every glance in the mirror (my features strike me as harsh and angry).
Writing and I have always been important to one another, we take long walks, we chat until late in the night and we always whisper love words to one another in the throws of passion and in the still vastness of solitude. We both love movies of all kinds, but music is a serious passion for us as well, in short we work and without one another we make no sense.
Without me writing has no actor, no plot, no motive and without writing I am quite less than ordinary with no expression and am woefully inept at constructing a soul after a particularly heinous demolition.
To writing I would say this-- Our relationship is not always an easy one but it is a true and necessary one and for that I am grateful. I will always take chance after chance to hold our connection because I know you always will. To whom do we belong if not to one another.

So to "writing" I dedicate the aforementioned bridge from the John Legend song. No matter what we are always one because separate and singulary we are little more than pieces scattered.
While I still believe much in Karma I am going to start ending my posts a bit differently from now on.
I wish you love, I wish you heaven--Prince

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Art of Fear--Heart of Darkness

Sup Y'all! Long time no see--Before anyone snaps off, let me just offer an explanation for my absence.

I have been having some difficulty lately with my craft. Pretty big-time issues although in no way do the hindrances keep me from gainful employment or threaten my physical well being. Nope, physically there is little issue with my life, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually-- in short the places where I truly live are experiencing a great and terrible drought.
Abject poverty and famine plague these very important city-states within my physical nation. Certainly remedies abound, but what of that?
Am I capable of employing these remedies?
Are they (the remedies) available to me readily or is there some sort of quest in order for their acquisition necessary?
Or perhaps its the most fear numbing possibility of all, which can be summed up in a quote from a book I recently acquired.
The discussion was on the notion that as far as any artistry goes
"you either have it or ya dont".
The fatalism in this quote was one that I have been clinging to with bloody fingernails lately, hoping against hope that this in some way proves my inability to write anything of worth stems from my tenuous grasp of literature and all of its dreamy forms.
To the contrary, I discovered that this fatalism was one of many cop-outs employed by the terrified and lazy to dodge themselves and binge on self pity, Blue-Bell Fudge-sicles and Little Debbie Snack Cakes.
Then there was this little gem peaking from just beyond that fatalistic phrase...

"--the fear that your fate is in your own hands, but that your hands are weak" from Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland.
This my friends is much more like it...I believe my abilities to be weak?
I believe my motivations for creating MY kind of art to be weak.
I stop creating for the audience in me and saw my work as this mass-produced, required-reading sort of affair, sucked soul-less by media attention and countless literary criticism students. I had taken the audience of me out of the equation completely which in turn removed the bloody beauty of a new birth from what was once and is now again a fertile body. forgive the melodrama but I wanted my realization to be vivid and clear.
I worry about how important I am to my own journey as an artist and as my own one-woman show. Were I to be forced to give an exhibit of my work (my life as it were) I wonder how well received I might be to my toughest audience...that audience of one being myself of course. I think we both know how that exhibition might go...

Aficionado: Interesting piece, seems familiar somehow.
Artist: Yes, you're very astute. As a matter of fact I call it "A work in Progress" a few of the newer items are on loan from the "Procrastinator" collection.
Aficionado: Hmm, the "Procrastinator" Collection. Is that a sub-collection of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Re-run" Showing from about 2 seasons ago?
Artist: Well, if you look closely you'll also see nuances of "Writers Block" or as it is commonly known "Hackneyed and Stilted Bullshit Cop-out Writing, So Just Put Your Fucking Pen Down and Stop Embarrassing Yourself and Every English Teacher you have ever had since the 6th Grade" Period.
Aficionado: Ahhh, I see it now. I think I'll just wait for your next showing if you don't mind. Oh and the Hor d'oeuvres aren't exactly fresh Either...and you might stop referencing the "McCormick Apple Vodka and Pizza" body of work for inspiration. Clearly you remain uninspired...
Artist: Clearly.
Ugh, brutal.
Now about that quote.
I have been known to be heavy handed with the artist within. I find my outer critic Constantly running down the list of foibles and shortcomings with the precision of a Singer sewing machine (the country-girl domestic in me will not be silenced even in the wake of all my fancy book-learning) as personal inventory for my inner artist.
Counter-productive? Sure.
An easy fix since the problem has been identified? Uhm....Not so fast.
What about those weak hands? I mean maybe the capacity for creation is just lacking. No harm in that right? Wrong. That quote isn't about the ability to create Picasso-esque works of art, it is about the ability to create YOU-esque works of art. Your art is just that, yours or rather, my art is mine. I have my target audience all wrong--is what I was getting at in a long-winded sort of way. The task here is to work on my work, period. My fear isn't about weak hands it is about a weak heart, a weak spirit and in short a weak work ethic as a result of it all. What will I find as I sojourn into my own heart of darkness and size up and ultimately face down that art that lives at my core. What of That hidden patch of artistry that has been worked and reworked in the abstract darkness of fear and in some cases loathing at the ultimate point of origin within me? My great fear is That fear. Was that Fear.
Artist: Grab a flash light.
Aficionado: Why?
Artist: We're going in.

Be safe and be true and know that you cant outrun your debt or yourself.