Manipulating cold, steel-edged words for those who will pin them up for inquiring minds to digest and regurgitate as currency.
Singing metered phrases crafted by forlorn and joyous hearts, raped and robbed by my unknowing tongue.
Riding the lines of another’s hand, lost and drowning in a deeply hued sea of his existence—a magnificent, sultry pool, though not my own.
How is an artist to survive? When the must-dos and must-have of this, our perfunctory existence, demand that we repress the artist within? How must we speak to the ingenuity that was not only gifted to us, but that has been welded to our humanity—to every interaction, to every emotion, to every lens through which we view the biosphere?
How are we to survive when we feel compelled to silence this artistry—like the mother who suffocates her child against her breast to spare the innocent from an acute and critical enemy—in a world that seems rigid, black, gray?
Your artistry is not unlike a splinter entrenched deep below the skin, festering within your flesh. It must come out, and if you do not consciously extract it, it will exhume itself. Your artistry will manifest as anger, your ingenuity as hatred. Your imagination will turn black, your vision a translucent view of spoiled shades. Your ear will pluck pretentiousness over rhyme. Your soul will spin a web around your gift, until it begins to pulsate like some sickening omen, and you will wish for another chance at plucking that tidy splinter.
Some of us must create. It is the bread and water of our existence. We must output, in order to balance the input…lest we suffer the penalty of an artless existence.
Drink in the creations of others; it is necessary for the awakening of your own. But do not resolve this as your portion. You shall starve.
“Use it or lose it” is what they tell the athletes. “Climb the ladder” is what they preach to the capitalist. And what is there for the artist? There are only two things: Self and Others Like Us. Never underestimate the power of these. Never suppress your need to create, your need to live as you were born.
Jacinda, what you say here is beautiful and true. To “refuse the call” is to be inauthentic, to risk never knowing what unique truth only you can contribute, and to empty life of the pure joy that comes with creating. Your analogy with the splinter is such a good one. Society, or maybe just my own viewpoint, makes me feel a little odd for needing to work on my creative writing consistently. I become distraught, unable to focus, even a little panicky when I go too long without writing. Avoidance of creation alters my experience of life for the worse, and that is a big penalty.
Thank you for this post,
Spot-on, Aniko. It’s good to know there are others who feel this way.