Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Will It Ruin You?
I've been thinking lately about the nature of art. What it takes to create. What it takes to create something huge. Something that silences everything else inside of you for one perfect moment. Something that comes close to what you originally wanted to write. Sculpt. Paint. Sing. Dance.
The vision is there. Maybe it's cloudy at first. Maybe elusive, but you can feel the weight of it pressing against your soul. Scraping against your thoughts at the most inconvenient times. Begging to be seen. Heard. Felt.
And so you put pen to paper. Brush to canvas. Hand to clay. And you create.
What you create doesn't quite match your vision. Not at first. It looks like a pale copy, smudged and blurry at the edges, and you push harder. You dig deeper. You seek to find this vision's unique path from where it formed inside of you to where it can live and breathe on its own.
But when you push harder, when you dig deeper, you come up against dissent. Disapproval. Misunderstanding. Rules. The fear that if you remain true to your vision, if you really pull every last twisted, broken, beautiful piece of it out of yourself and set it free, it might come to ruin.
You might come to ruin.
Someone will wonder how the nice girl they've known for years could possibly write that. Sing that. Paint that. Someone else will wonder if there's something wrong with you. Someone will speculate you just don't measure up. Another will whisper that it isn't real art. And you're a fool for pretending it is.
Or have you learned what every artist must eventually discover for herself?
If it doesn't hurt, if it doesn't scrape you raw, if it doesn't make something in you bleed, if your honesty doesn't scare the sleep from your eyes, if the truth you deliver in all of its messy authenticity doesn't breathe down the back of your neck, then you may need to push harder. Dig deeper. Stand in the mess, in the beauty, in the singular heart-break and hope that is your vision and stop listening to those who say it isn't. It doesn't. It shouldn't. It can't.
Because it is. It does. You should. You can.