Tuesday, February 07, 2012
kurt vonnegut was right. (sort of.)
i'm feeling especially grateful for my creative life -- all of it. i have no idea why this feeling of gratitude has covered me like a strange dark shroud. the epiphany that unfurled itself inside me the other day probably has everything to do with it. for some strange reason, that simple thought and all of what it really meant rattled me all the way to my bones. i'd certainly had that thought before but this time, it carried a weight to it that made it so profound, so overwhelming. all of a sudden, everything seemed divinely ordered. all of a sudden, in one bright moment, everything made perfect sense.
i realized that i didn't choose to be an artist. my early years were a series of happy accidents and strange coincidences and "lucky" moments that made me aware of a knowing feeling that grew inside me, a feeling that constantly reassured me that i am who i am -- an artist -- and that's all that i am, no matter what. my only real choice meant coming to terms with this information and deciding what to do with my life.
my most productive and satisfying moments came when i got out of the way and let God take over and give me whatever ideas i was meant to have. that's the way its always worked for me. i get out of the way and have a kind of blackout while inspiration takes over and works through me to make something wonderful. very stanislavski. actually, it was through method acting in performing arts high school that i learned how to get out of the way. more on that later.
when i first came to new york city, a beautiful dancer -- one of those stunning ailey acolytes, i think -- told me that it was a sin to have a God-given talent and do nothing with it. she said it in passing. it was almost an afterthought. i never forgot those words. in my darker more mundane moments, when i was working and working and working and (seemingly) not getting anywhere with what i was doing, those words would float back to me and drift just above my head, like a smoke ring. and i would keep going and then a breakthrough would sail into my life with so much ease, it would leave me breathless.
now i know that although mr. vonnegut was wrong -- you can make a living in the arts -- he was also so very right: every human being has a grand capacity for creativity and art. it can augment all of our lives and make them better, and make life much more bearable. so many apply their bright ideas to the most mundane parts of their world and illuminate them with ingenuity and verve, leaving light and love in their wake.
i'm not talking about haberdashers who use their albums and music videos and their ability to "beef" and start static to shill their clothing lines, alcoholic beverages and energy drinks. i'm not talking about fashion victims or fame junkies. i'm not talking about corporate tools or media whores.
i'm talking about creativity in its purest most elegant and accessible form -- something that we all have within our grasp as human beings. something that is there to give you joy within the confines of your everyday world. something that you can take further than that, if you feel so inclined. something that connects you to the divine in such a deliberate way, it's almost stultifying.
here's to my creative life -- and yours.