A Few Thoughts, In the Name of Art

23 Jan

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Katie is out in the pasture today, so I’m off on a writerly tangent.
Since I started writing again, I feel like “God” is following me around, poking me with a stick.  “God” walks quietly and carries an invisible (but sharp) stick, because whenever I turn around to look, there’s no one there.

I’m not even sure it’s really God, since I’m not sure I believe in one of those.  It could just be a random stick poking me.

“Wake up, Kid,” a voice seems to say.

I’m not a kid, that’s for sure.  But artists and writers never really grow up.  Artists spend a lot of time looking at frost-covered leaves, watching shadows cast by clouds and finding pictures in the swirly patterns on wallpaper.  We still try to find the end of the rainbow and almost get there.   “Artist” is not mutually exclusive with any other profession.  Art itself is not exclusive, since it can’t really be defined.   Artists tend to be accepting of differences in other people,  especially paradoxes.  Diversity brightens an artist’s day.

That’s why you can walk into a room full of artists or visit an art opening and find yourself among old friends you’ve never met before.  Anyone who has faced a blank page or canvas and ended up putting some marks on it has walked the hero’s journey.  They’ve been poked by God-like sticks to get working and answered the call.

Most artists are loathe to define things. When you name something, you steal its power.  Words are limited, and often you stop really seeing something when once you name it.  Think of that beautiful bird at your feeder.  When you didn’t know what it was, you knew every detail of its stripes and colors.  Once it became a Variegated Thrush, it was just a bird.  It lost a lot of its magic.  Though still beautiful, it will never be seen in such completeness as the first unknown orange brown bird who appeared at the feeder.

Humans also label each other (liberal, conservative, vegetarian, tele-evangelist) and then we stop seeing who is really front of us.  No words can ever completely capture the essence of anything.  Neither can a painting or photo.  But that doesn’t stop us from trying.  Just be safe,  artists avoid being pinned down about many things.

God is one of those.  Many artists, being creators themselves, have a firm, unfailing belief in a universal creative force of some kind.  But define it?  No way.  That takes away the magic.  Of course, some artists are completely comfortable defining God/Goddess/etc., and some have ditched the concept entirely for secular humanism.

So whoever is poking me (or you) with a stick, saying, “wake up and write,” thank you. I’m not that interested in what to call the Stick-poker.  I’m busy drawing a frost-covered leaf.  You may call the Universal Stick-Poker of Creativity anything you would like.  And I won’t judge you for it.

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