Wednesday, April 12, 2006

To Feel Alive

Artist: William Blake.

Capote, to his editor, Robert Linscott, in 1947:

"I am working on the book and it is really my love and today I wrote two pages and oh Bob I do want it to be a beautiful book because it seems important to me that people try to write beautifully, now more than ever because the world is so crazy and only art is sane and it has been proven time after time that after the ruins of a civilization are cleared away all that remains are the poems, the paintings, the sculpture, the books."

Why is it that I so rarely show this kind of enthusiasm in my blog about writing? Why do I so often over-organize my thoughts and over-analyze the writing process?

I think I'm afraid people will think I'm a "flake" if I show too much enthusiasm.

Yet I don't think Capote is a flake when he writes, "...and oh, ... I do want it to be a beautiful book ... only art is sane." Nor was Dickey a flake when he described being so overtaken by the beauty of the writing process that he fell down to his knees in the middle of the street, felled by the power of that feeling.

I watched a documentary on PBS tonight, on Independent Lens. It was about John Trudell, a Native American activist, poet, and songwriter, whose wife and children died when their house was burned as a result of political unrest on the reservation, violence instigated by the US Government. You may know him from the movies. Trudell was in Thunderheart, and other films.

But, for Trudell, it isn't about being a "star." At the end of the documentary, he says something to the effect that he feels the purpose of his life is share his poems and his stories. He knows he is only one man and he isn't singlehandedly going to change the system.

He just wants to be a part of the exchange of information, of thought. He does this through writing because writing gives him a sense of of what it is to be alive. I think this was so for William Blake. He was animated through his art.

That is what I want, too, to feel alive by creating.


Anonymous said...

Me, too, Theresa. Teagrapple

Vicky said...

Now that is inspiration. I just love the "oh Bob." Excitement about the creative process is the driving force - why do it otherwise? Thank you for reminding us, my dear.

beths front porch said...

Wish I'd seen Independent Lens. I like the concept of sharing information (or art) and how that makes us feel alive. I know that's how it works for me. Beth

Erin said...

Well, Theresa--I think you certainly succeed in making all of us feel more alive and creative by your posts and comments! Thank you! I love that he said "the world is so crazy and only art is sane."

V said...

Rollo May quotes George Bernard Shaw as writing this letter to the violinist Jascha Heifitz:
My dear Mr. Heifitz,
My wife and I were overwhelmed by your concert. If you continue to play with such beauty, you will certainly die young. No one can play with such perfection without provoking the jealousy of the gods.I earnestly implore you to play something badly every night before going to bed.....

May comments: "Beneath Shaw`s humorous words there is.......a profound truth- creativity provokes the jealousy of the gods. This is why authentic creativity takes so much courage: an active battle with the gods is occurring."

alphawoman said...

Inspiring post.

Paula said...

In my worst moments, art is all that calms me.

In my best moments, art is all that calms me.

In Austin, on one of my truly terrible days, I walked down the street feeling pretty much terrified, like there was no place to hide. I glanced to my right and saw I was just passing a tiny little art gallery. I walked inside...and could breathe again.

In my worst moments, art is all that calms me.

ggw07 said...

Exuberance is Beauty.
William Blake

Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Wenda said...

This is what I want, too. I want and want and want it, though I get and get and get it.



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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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