Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shaking the tree of the spirit: Acts of creation

Note: I recommend reading the previous post, and particularly clicking through the links and watching the video you'll find. (The second half, equally powerful is here.)
What do I want to say? Everything. I want to scrawl in abstracted, emotional hieroglyphs on the walls. I want to scream from the roof and show the world my battered and bloodied self and say, "I'm still here. I will not be as worthless as you want me to believe." I want to write furious reams of poetry and paint myself into the weave of the canvas. I want to be heard, I want to show you something that is not tidily packaged and pre-chewed pabulum. I want to tell the truth.

Sometimes, telling the truth is like pouring acid on an open wound.

Sometimes, forming the words feels like an alien act.

Those times are not now.
I always preface by saying, "I'm a poet. I'm not particularly prose-y. This is not my form." I've been rejecting the notion that I'm simply a storyteller. Foolishness.
BTW, if you don't feel incredibly moved and energized as an artist and human being after watching the videos... well, I don't know what to say.
So, last night: Epiphany. I've been dithering about with a sort-of trashy-kinky-angsty romance novel. Well...actually, dithering is exactly the right word. I published my first piece of fiction in January. The novel was meant to be an exercise, the fledgling testing the wings. Ultimately, I'm forced to admit that this is not an authentic effort. It was me, playing it safe. The precise reason I couldn't make myself write beyond the third chapter, is that it would be too safe. I couldn't get excited, I couldn't get my blood flowing to care about writing it.
That was then.
This is now.
That first piece of fiction, written with incredible constraints, sparked my imagination. In moving forward, I'm going back. There are stories in the world of that short story, that are whispering in my ear. I can see them. I can hear the whispers of voices demanding to be heard. I can see the gaunt and wasted bodies of the starving. I can hear the flood waters. I can taste the acrid dust of scorched cities.
There are lives waiting to be revealed on the page. Emma, Cassandra, Jamie and...the others. They haven't introduced themselves yet.
There is joy and agony and acceptance of grief. There is peace and contemplation, there is cataclysm.
There is a world to be explored.
The moment I knew it, I started to zing. A physical tingling of my skin. The kind of sensation I associate with absolute rightness in a situation.
I have no idea how NaNoWriMo is going to turn out. I know that I have to write this. It's necessary. It's not a choice. If I don't write it, I may as well lay down and die.
This is who I am. I'm a writer.

(Note: I began this blog last night, in the throes of my first truly organic experience as a writer of fiction. This afternoon, an interesting thought came up on twitter, from @Lifemapper," I am observing that so many artists associate their life's work with pain. It has to hurt to be authentic? What about true joy in creation? ") 

Much conversation among several of us, ensued. I'm not sure I approached it correctly. This dovetails with the beginning of the post, I promise. 

In my experience, blissfully happy people don't ask that many questions. 
Artists do. 
Questions don't lead to contentment. 
Questions lead to expression. 

The act and inspiration of creation is separate from the personality of the creator. Writing can be: release, exorcism, analysis, exuberant joy, bliss, and any other emotion. It can be hell, dredging up emotions and events from life and observation in order to communicate a character's experience authentically. 
It's just that...every artist I've ever known, has been damaged in some way.
Creating is how we put ourselves back together. 
It's how we let go, how we mend, how we reach out into the cosmos and ask to be seen, to be heard, to be known, to know. 

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