I’ve always had a tendency to want to hit people over the head with my brilliant (or less than brilliant) insights. Maybe I get it from the proselytizing side of my family. It’s not just an ego thing. It’s more a misunderstanding of cause and effect, and laziness, and fear, and lack of faith in myself. As Robert Frost said, No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.
Coming up with work which might actually be valuable to someone means I have to be here now, which is not easy for me. It requires my whole self. And who wants to go throwing their whole self around? Who’s going to stay back to mind the paranoia store, the anxiety store, the hiding-under-my-bed store, the thought-habits-that-have-outlived-their-usefulness-but-to-which-I-cling-because-they’re-habits-forchrissakes store? I am not saying that they are not as many ways to communicate and make art as there are people. I am also not saying that even one person, me for example, can’t communicate in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes. I can, and do.
I am saying that making art is different than making a case. It requires as much not-knowing as knowing. Making art is an interior process that calls something into being. And what makes it art is the process itself. We love the object because we can feel its expansive, struggling, striving humanity. Or its quiet thoughtful humanity. Or its wild joyous humanity. Or its sad confused humanity. We feel its humanity.
Maybe the product of the process is making a case. If a case is being made, it is a case for human potential in the face of the human condition. Please don’t think I’m overlooking the need for dedicated craftsmanship in any art form. Dedicated craftsmanship is the doing part of the being.
When I make art I don’t actually throw my whole self around. I allow my whole self to throw me around. That’s why it’s hard. It feels as though I’m being taken for a ride, and I am, and it’s a ride I want to go on. Sometimes it’s scary, because I don’t know where I’m going, and other times it’s exhilarating, because I don’t know where I’m going.
What I do know is that when I allow my whole self to be here now, I am protected from being the kind of asshole I can be when I think I know what I’m doing. Because honestly, I don’t know. I can’t know. None of us can know the meaning of what we are doing.
We can do it though. The way to do is to be, and vice versa. DoBeDoBeDo
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