Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dueling Artists

Please play the banjo theme from Deliverance in your head. I'm answering Viv's Wayward Artist post.

And Viv, if you think I have solutions for that "how come she's so self-congratulating and I'm just standing here on the platform watching the dragon leave the station without me? Again?" angst -- well no. I don't. Some days I've got somethin' for that, some days I don't. Some days I'm right there on the platform next to you.

I have been waiting my entire adult life for the Glamour Makeover that would make me the woman of my dreams: energetic, organized, calm, centered, gorgeous, published.... Well, maybe tomorrow.

I believe, though, that if you're down, you're not off track or in the wrong place. The Zen folks would say it's the Down that gives us the Up. As a distinction. The front of the hand, inseparable from the back of the hand. No hand at all without it.

They would also say, more adroitly than I can, that every moment -- good, bad, dumb, tragic, fabulous, boring, messy, whatever -- is the access point to truth. The way in to authentic,unvarnished experience.

And about that Big T Truth, we're all, whether we know it or not, on the same page. It is what is. And every work of art that's worth anything starts where it is.

Not in how it feels. Because it feels crappy and then it feels ecstatic and then crappy and so on until the sun burns out. You know that. We know that. That's why we're so drawn to the fairy tale of happily ever after. And so bummed when we turn the page and see some wayward unhappiness.

Here's something else. Our Julia is not immune to these concerns of yours. Oh, yeah. She rode the dragon. But I've read almost everything she ever wrote and, baby, the dragon dumped her off a bunch of times. Don't read Finding Water if you can't handle the truth of being an artist or a human being. Lady is struggling. She'd like a Glamour Makeover, too. She's getting older. She worries about the money running out. Her life is finite, just like everybody's. She could really use a drink. And yet she just keeps on. You could cry. You could pray. You could worship what she's up to because she tells her truth with courage and dogged determination.

Unless I've missed the point completely, the creative life is a footrace, a dance, a stumble, a slog, a bog. But it beats the dickens out of the other kind, where the innate creativity that lives inside everybody, maybe even serial killers for all I know, gets denied or subverted into something deeply unsatisfying.

So, that's my banjo. Your banjo is an honest report on where you are -- or where you were last night. Honesty like that is a gift and we thank you for it.

Great weekend, people, one and all! Onward to Chapter 11.

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