i will no longer purchase goods or make bold choices in the super market place products in my room will no longer advertise my preferences (nor shall wallet or watch proclaim my identity) if you can read me by the decoration of my room then when i am gone of this world- why do you miss me? true, in my room dwells my soul but my possessions do not define me and i cease to be myself: this pencil that garment this bed that nail, screw, tack and thread... tied to the reel of avaricious profit men whose noses so big can not see the middle know i have found peace (a release) a life of simple desire
Maybe it’s my own hang-up, but I haven’t played a live show for half a year. The buzzing world of a musician appears to constantly take the form of a life forever on the go. And maybe that scares me.
There’s a critic with my voice that lives in my head and he constantly reminds me how doubtful he is that I can make a career out of this thing called music. He lobbies evidence that my best moments are always in my bedroom, unrecorded and raw. And when I sit down to put pen to paper and write lines to a song, he so sourly grins as I forget just what I sang.
This world craves the musician who can stand boldly and authentically, delivering the gratification to those in sorrow. Or maybe it’s all in my head. But when I think about it on a day like today, the time away from the stage just seems to grow. A passion for playing music and singing from my heart seems to be overshadowed by the upkeep of daily practice. A fire that once sustained me, at times, now has me working to sustain it.
My vision of a “successful” artist is so warped. I sit down with a feeling that I want to translate into chords and then suddenly I’m contemplating having to deal with fame. No one who understands fame wishes it upon themself. And so I put my future on hold for another ten minutes, distracting myself with video games.
Inner turmoil has a funny way of manifesting. A loss of focus, absenteeism, an out-of-character outburst…all of these are simply cries for help. And I’m not really that twisted inside. I can sit in one spot and meditate; I come to class; I don’t even punch my pillow anymore. But sometimes, especially in winter, there is this apathy that I like to imagine is death’s silent hand in the balance of life. A moment of freefall over the crest of a hill in a car, about to hit ground. An animal at its end, accepts fate’s nudge.
There is a wish I have, to rise from my shell and slip away from my crumpled body; fly into the dark wintry night. Free from the burdens of flesh, the necessities and troubles of life. And into the cold, sit forever in the snow counting the stars.
Art comes to us in many forms. Sometimes art is the dynamic captured moment in a photograph or the serene picturesque painting of scenery. Sometimes it is the delicate movement of dancers on stage or the brilliant, forgotten idea in the old diary lost in a box somewhere. Sometimes art is some paint splashed across a canvas or strawberries sequentially pinned onto a board. Sometimes art is a mixture of tastes and textures that enriches your palate or the presence of a character in the theatre that encapsulates you and reminds you of place so familiar. Art is so much and it is growing with each creation.
To me, art is a subjective understanding of meaning; it is ineffable, yet makes sense. Every given art form has boundaries and rules to distinguish it, yet the wonder of art is in how pieces of different shapes and colours can expand or play within those boundaries. Art is raw or refined and a place where the only idea of perfection is to match the product with the intent and vision. Art may involve getting it just right, but more often than not art is passion and truth in fruition. Art is an extension of self and an inclusion of other.
I like that art is sometimes this jumble of confusion splattered onto a page. Only when it is incubated within the artist then born violently onto the page can all see its beauty.
Not too long ago in my English class, I had a group project. Our assignment was to creatively demonstrate how to write better. One group chose to show how to write a winning resume, the other group did a skit on how to write a letter of resignation. Our group did a presentation on “How to write an 18th Century love letter.”
My task in the group was to write a demo letter and to briefly discuss the relevance of a love letter’s place in the 18th century, and in today’s setting. Three tips I learned about writing love letters:
1. Speak (with) your mind, but speak from your heart. This means be authentic and open about your feelings, but don’t dumb yourself down to be liked. Both intellect and emotion have their roles in making you a healthy human being. Intellect outlines the shape of the picture, giving reasons for what to say. Emotion colours the picture, fueling why you are writing a love letter. Through the utilization of both intellectual and emotional centres, you can write a letter communicating how you really feel inside, in a way visible outside.
2. Understand her and tell her (how) you understand her. Though in the project I assumed the role of a man writing a love letter to a woman, the same principle applies to any relationship whether it is man to man, woman to woman, woman to man, man to woman: to expect someone to listen, you must first let them know that you listen and have listened. No one in a relationship is ever wrong for being who they are or the way they are, although they reserve the right to be. For someone to say they would love another if that other person changed is to negate the very essence of love itself. Love is understanding – both noun and verb. Like with any writing, consider who your audience is.
3. Expect replies, but not answers. Although you deserve to be heard, the person you decide to send the love letter to still reserves the right of how to act or react. A love letter should be sent as an intention of love, honour, and respect, with the expectation that it may be reciprocated, but also of the knowledge and understanding that a response may result for reasons to respect. You may not like your partner’s decision, but by learning to accept it you will make your life a lot more enjoyable and limitless, instead of limiting. Your partner’s decision is only what your partner decided, not who your partner is.
Though you can’t choose how the person – partner, friend, lover, crush – will take the letter, you can still choose how to most clearly present yourself. They may not understand, even if you understand them, but this is the work of the relationship: that with trust and patience, you can learn from your differences. In any relationship, you have to trust your partner and yourself, and having patience with both will only serve you the greatest good (which can feel like the greatest bad at times, but sometimes a current bad is really a later good in disguise).
After all, you may not even decide to send the letter; perhaps there was some insight through writing the letter that led you to see where you could change. Don’t be too proud to not accept that you have aspects you can change yourself, but don’t be too hard on yourself either. Get writing and find out.