Image by Darryl Brian
“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”
~ John Lennon
Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.”
― David Whyte
I have decided to be happy. So what if I’m poor as a church mouse. So what if I never taste foie gras again or drink a champagne called Louise. I’m smack dab in the middle of a miracle.
I have a heart that beats in a body that eats, sleeps and locomotes. I can make noises with my mouth that other beings understand and I can understand in likewise fashion the noises they make. It’s a bloomin’ miracle to see the moon in the sky, to watch the hummingbirds from our terrace, to sit down and eat with my beloved, to sip tequila as I write this.
You’d have to be brain dead not to be grateful and astonished.
I am the result of love, just as you are. Love brought me to this wonderland just as it brought you. We find ourselves in a miracle, and somehow a unique part of it, somehow part of its construct. There are only guesses as to how we exist, or how anything exists, frankly.
What is our role, given all this? To make hay while the sun shines? To eat as much cake as possible, metaphorically speaking? To get rich by selling the earth’s bounty?
Maybe not. Maybe it’s first of all to say thank you to the Mystery itself, and pledge our blood to cherish and protect it. Maybe our first task is to simply grow a heart big enough to love the Mystery. The heart is the seat of courage. Maybe we could grow our muscles of courage, so that we could be faithful servants of this beauty whose bloodstream we swim in.
Is it worthwhile being an artist just to become a “name?” Is the whole point to make money and become recognized?
In America, maybe. Otherwise you could starve. This is not Europe, where art is considered essential. Here our artists aren’t supported by the government and won’t be in the foreseeable future.
American artists have to figure out their marketing in a capitalistic system. The cream will rise to the top, they say, ignoring the infinite kinds of circumstances and personalities engaged in learning and producing art.
Creative people, who insist on making something meaningful with their hands or ideas are treated like businesses in this country. If you already have an instinctive grasp of money and how it works, good for you. You’re ahead of the game.
Some creators have a hard time exiting the realm of beauty and meaning, for obvious reasons. It’s a nice place to be. The world of money and self interest is a more prosaic place that has limited allure for the poet or mystic, unfortunately. That cream might not rise to the top.
Medium is an American business, with American assumptions built in to it. It’s going to be very interesting to see if they can combine good writing with good money.
I can hardly wait to see how it turns out. Those of us glad to be part of the grand mystery, and to write well and be appreciated, are rooting for its success.
Whichever way it goes, I have decided to be glad.
- Anima fire is my publication.