Does it feel as though the year started without you and now you’re desperately trying to catch up?
Does it feel like you’re going somewhere fast but you’re not sure where?
Do you know in your gut that you shouldn’t fight what is unfolding but ride it out instead?
Holy shit, 2016.
I thought you would give me January to settle in and plan for your arrival. Instead, you’ve started running, no, galloping, ahead of me. I’m being dragged along, and I haven’t the faintest clue where we’re going, but for now, I have no choice but to trust you.
And what’s with the snuffing out of bright stars? The loss of light when you arrived?
It’s made me think about what the heck I’m doing, and why I’m doing it. It’s forced me to ask questions early on about what you should really be about, and why I’m so afraid of taking certain risks, or why things aren’t coming to me as easily as I hoped them to (expectation: the thing that needs to die but never seems to). The fact that there are artists who will no longer be able to create, share, and experiment with their gifts is devastating to me. It’s also a source of guilt– a wake-up call to act. The only problem is, most of us artists know this feeling and have no idea what to do about it. We agonize over creating, we spill our hearts onto pages and then crumple them up within minutes of writing. We dance in a prism of sunlight seconds before it disappears between the clouds. We are just as fleeting. Just as fleeting.
And to create, to write, to be, to explore, to not know in our knowing– not in an attempt to defy death but to accept its inevitable arrival– that is the trickiest and most challenging task for an artist. At least it is for me. Legacy is not about defying death but our choice to inspire others because we will die.
It honestly pains me to think about it. I just don’t know. I don’t know why I write, or create, or share, when sometimes it feels like no one is listening. Really listening. With mind, with heart, with spirit. The point of creating, of course, is to create. It shouldn’t be about validation, but to nurture a sense of community. When we create, we do it in spite of ourselves. In spite of the pain it takes to write, to share, to be rejected, to be ridiculed, to be silenced. We bear ourselves and break ourselves open so others can recognize themselves in us. We are not looking to be placed on pedestals or applauded for our brilliance. We are asking (pleading, calling, shouting, crying) for others to identify themselves in us. To recognize their stories in our stories. To remind us that we are not alone, and to acknowledge that they’re not alone either.
But when no one reads or listens, what is the point? It’s just an exercise in ego. Ego is the voice separating the creator from the creation, shouting, “I’ve done this” instead of “this did me”. And sometimes, when you’re alone, unheard, and confused, all you hear is that voice. It’s all you hear, because no one else is echoing. No one else is yelling back, “this did me too!”
And yet, maybe anticipating a response is ego too.
Anyone else hear me?