Sunday, October 24, 2010

Simile is not for poets because poets see things as they is,

not as they like. - Shirlette Ammons

Sometimes I wonder what would have become of me if I didn't sell my keyboard. How I miss the way the keys would do what I told them to. Now I have the feel of a different kind of keyboard under my fingers, and I'm very happy with that, but I still wonder. What if I kept that keyboard and actually practiced the music I learned how to read so well? What if I kept that keyboard and let it teach my voice how to match it? In the back of my mind, I still have dreams of playing. Singing. Now I keep thinking it's too late.

I have other dreams. I write and I travel to coffee shops and bars and living rooms and libraries and I read what I write.

I've never been upset at my circumstances. I've never blamed anyone else for the way I am or the way I went. If I wished things were different, I would only be angry at myself. No one forced me into a decision, only I had the power to change something or continue in it. And if I was forced, only I could allow such a force upon me. My circumstances were only doing their jobs. So I guess what I mean is - if I want to play piano, there's a way for me to play the piano. And if I'm not playing the piano, I should stop making excuses for myself.

I love how one can always tell who the writers are. It's like going to an outdoor concert, and the bands that aren't currently performing walk among the crowd, and you can always tell which ones are with the band. It's more than just their skinny jeans, their brother's Vans from high school, their flannel shirt and Gene Kelly's hat. Or the art students. It's more than just the mismatched hand-me-downs, the missing fingernails, or the purple hair. The writers. It's more than just the haircut from 1995, the beret, the pantsuit, and the Converse. For some reason, you recognize them. They do what they do and it's never near enough to pay the bills, but they love it too much so they still do it in addition to one or two other jobs which means that they don't have time to check up on People's latest "Style" issue.

So..... I guess..... love what you do. Whatever it is. And though people won't know your name, they'll know who you are.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Every child is an artist.

The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. - Picasso

Lately there have been quite a few thoughts when it comes to art and storytelling. I'm reading about this guy who published a book about his life, and it made a lot of money, and people wanted to make a movie out of it, and they wanted him to write the screenplay, and what I'm reading now is a book about him writing a screenplay for the movie based on the book based on his life.

And there has been a lot of talk of writer's block (whatever that is I don't believe it exists but that's another topic) and how to deal with it. There is a discussion that involves the idea of the artist living vs. creating. If the artist tells the story, he has no time to live in it. If he lives in it, he has no time to tell the story. So what are we to do? Which is more important? Someone has to tell these stories.

But isn't it also possible that, while we are gifted in that we can speak for those with no words, it is ultimately up to an individual whether or not he would like us to speak for him? Wouldn't our time be better served if we could teach people how to tell their own stories? And if people knew how to tell their own stories, wouldn't it be much easier for all of us to tell our own stories as we live them?

Storytelling is special. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is, I believe, part of being in God's image. Being able to tell a story. Being able to live a story. But it is all too easy to think we are better than others and we are serving a better purpose in the world by locking ourselves in our rooms and "making art."

One possible interpretation of Tennyson's "Lady of Shalott" is that he felt a distance from society and could not relate to them. Thus, the Lady is cursed to stay in her room weaving constantly and can only view society from its reflection in her mirror. It's that thought of, "they just don't understand"

But isn't it our job to make them understand? It is not art if it is not an attempt to help the world understand something better or at least grapple with something complicated. No more excuses of "we're just too different" or " they won't get it."

But this book. It makes me think a lot about my story. It makes me aware that I am a character. And I have a plot.