tortured art vs artist

The mentality that darker minds are more beautiful, is often misinterpreted. I believe people say things like that to bring comfort to those who have dark thoughts, and who channel those thoughts in to something creative. A great many times, I hear people saying their art suffers when they’re happy, they don’t feel a need for it. Art is essentially a crutch for them. And that’s okay. Art becomes whatever you need for art to become. When they no longer need it, they feel a kind of sadness that can’t be explained. They’re happy, but they’re no longer creating. Something still, is missing. Don’t be fooled. It’s easy to think that darkness, sadness and pain are the only source of creativity. In fact, it’s another truth entirely. Darkness, sadness and pain are the easiest source of creativity. Anguish pours, anguish thunders and demands to be heard, to be noticed. Happiness often seeps in to a person’s entire being, like honey. A quieter hello, but one infinitely superior. Once you realize this, know your battle is with your art only. You’re happy but your art is suffering? No, you’re happy but you’re unwilling to suffer for your art. Create happy art. It’s harder, I bet you anything. But the world needs more of it. There is a beauty in darkness. I agree, i agree, i agree. But if someone told me I could either be happy or never make art again, I’d choose my happiness every time.

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The old and wise sits and chastises the young for their foolish naivete.

The young and eager jumps and hastens to fix the world, stepping over the old.

The adult stands holding the reins in both hands, doing nothing, for he knows nothing of old knowledge yet and has all but forgotten the strength of the young.

Displacement

I find it strange that whenever someone speaks to me about a car crash, a death or any number of faceless mishaps, it’s followed by an exclamation of its proximity.

“That’s right around that corner from where I live!”. As if that matters. Does the idea of these accidents, these deaths… do they suddenly become more real? Could it have been you?

To me, a death is a death, whether it be 5000 miles away or 5. It is not a matter of who.

I walk around knowing it’s always a possibility. No, it doesn’t scare me. Mostly, it makes me feel invincible. I hold death’s hand and we go everywhere together. Maybe when it’s time to let go, i’ll be beat.

My only hope is that when I do, I matter. Not my proximity.

When you leave for an extended period of time from home, you always expect to come back and feel as though everything has changed. When it hasn’t. You expect to come back and feel as though you’ve changed. When you haven’t.

To me, that is both the most satisfying and irritating quality about home.

Reality. Stupid reality. Left behind with nothing to do. Just sits around and waits for you.

It’s there when you get home. Just at the kitchen table, tapping its’ fingers. Flies up, engulfs you in a familiar hug, tells you “welcome back” “i hope you’ve had a good trip”. Reaches in to your chest until you run cold, tells you “but i hope you haven’t forgotten me” “i certainly haven’t forgotten you.”

Confused? Me too.

I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” – Jack Kerouac

This is a quote taken from Jack Kerouac’s book ‘On the Road,’ and it’s one i see floating around from time to time. It seems to strike a chord with many people. And why shouldn’t it? Most of us are stumbling through this forest of a life either trying to find meaning, or create our own. There’s those still searching. There’s those that have pitched tents, called the forest home. Then, there are those that climb on to a precipice and share their moments of perceived enlightenment. A crowd gathers. And why shouldn’t it? The idea of darkness suddenly becomes a lot easier to bear once you picture a hand holding yours, gently leading you forward, doesn’t it? Never mind the fact that you still don’t know where you’re headed. Just the comfort is reason enough to follow. Isn’t it?

I don’t think so. Nor do I think confusion is a bad thing. Jack Kerouac’s words are brimming with a negative connotation, but they shouldn’t. I’m doubtful of those that believe they have everything figured out, but i’m also skeptical of those that believe that they have nothing to offer simply because they’re confused. You just have to know how to utilize your confusion, and make it work for you. Because, do you know what confusion brings about? Questions. Discussion. Perspectives. Sometimes, answers. Sometimes, it’s just more questions.

Whatever the case, It’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to admit it. Don’t pretend. Tell me you don’t know. I’ll tell you I don’t, either. By the end though, we’ll both know something we didn’t before.

So come, have a cup of coffee with me and we’ll talk about our confusion. We’ll bond while you decide which pastry to get. Don’t – not even for a second – think that you have nothing to offer. But don’t worry, we’ll discuss it later.

I struggle daily to understand myself. Sometimes, I wonder why I prefer relish over mustard, dark over light, dresses over pants. Usually, I have an answer for myself. At least, logic that seems logical to me. Then there are times I wonder who I am.

When my brother’s new bride came to our house, we all sat down and decided, that to get better acquainted, my family members would introduce themselves. A ‘it’s kind of too late to back out now, so you might as well know the truth about us,’ if you will. One by one, eldest to youngest, they stood up, and they stood alone. They all spoke of where they grew up, what they studied, where they are now and how they got there. I didn’t understand – all I could think was that this wasn’t who they were. Not to me. Eventually, it was my turn so I stood up and with a wave of my hand, I told her, “I’ll give you my résumé later.” I, then proceeded to tell her that her new husband – my brother – and I are very close and explained how that relationship came to be. Sure wasn’t always that way. I told her that I sometimes say the wrong things, and that I hope she’ll forgive me for them. I welcomed her to the family as everyone before me had.

But I still sat down unsatisfied.

I don’t know how to explain to her how my tongue never tastes quite right to me. Or anyone else, for that matter.

This confusion intertwines with my every step, tripping me. My hands and knees hurt, and I still don’t know how to break it to anyone that I’m human. Perhaps the only person refusing to accept it is me.

So for now, I smile, put together sentences that I can get away with, tilt my head and say, “you get me?” and pray that one day I’ll be able to say ‘yes’ to my own question.

Let me tell you something.

I could tell you some things about my father. I could tell you he tells me how it seemed as though flowers fell from my mouth when I talked to him as a child. I could tell you how he tells me I’ve had his heart since I was born. I could tell you he likes to wonder out loud in front of me, in all seriousness, “what did you do to me? why do i love you so much?” I could tell you he lectures me about life a lot. I could tell you I read him my poetry, and his reaction to it makes me feel as though any other audience doesn’t matter. I could tell you a myriad of things. I could tell you that. But there’s really only one story you need to know about my father.

Weak and lying on a hospital bed, the nurse came in to change his sheets. He looked at her and said, “I can do this. Tend to the patients that need you more.” I swear, the world must have stopped for her. It did for me. I watched. I watched as her features softened, as she drew breath, as her weary face changed in to one of utmost love for a stranger. She regained her composure and went to fix the bed anyways, but my father got up and fought with her. She left, argument lost but with her shoulders feeling a little less heavy than when she came in, I imagine.

I’ve seen this story repeat itself many times. A different character to make an appearance every story, but the reaction always remains the same. The same look that seeks out words that are never enough. I never tire of it.

I don’t think my words will ever do him justice, but I try and will continue to nonetheless. I love you, dad. I hope the way I look at you conveys it, even if my words can’t.

There’s a certain beauty in the night-time that the day can’t ever commit to. The day’s happenings all melt in the sky, in hues of brooding pinks, cobalt blues, and comforting blankets of blacks.

Some nights, I lay awake in awe of the silence. The deception of peace. I appreciate it nonetheless.
Some nights, I lay awake trying to block out the awful silence drilling in my head. I wrap myself against myself, like a fragile child and wait for the winds to sing a lullaby to me. I appreciate it then, too.
Some nights, I speak to God. The reception seems clearer, then.
Some nights, I break down with the sheer exhaustion of the world and it’s heavy possibilities.
Some nights, I step on to my balcony, beckon the night to me, inhale deeply and ask, “how are you, tonight?”

The night always seems more honest than the day. It is harder to hide from yourself at night. All your shields break down, and you become the most human version of yourself. Dangerously authentic. Still, the night is never judgmental.

Most nights, I see the sky change. Washing away the dark, consumed with the slow-burning fire of a new day. Tell it, “Good night. I’ll see you tomorrow, old friend.”

rain

Everyone always associates rain with something dreary, unwanted. But it doesn’t have to be so. It doesn’t always have to impede on your plans. It should actually count as making your plans more interesting. Watching your surroundings when it rains is one of the most enthralling experiences. When it rains, the streets clear quickly. Everyone wants to evacuate as if it’s not water but acid falling from the sky. To sit and watch is one of the most wondrous luxuries of life. To watch small animals scurry. To watch birds flying for shelter. To watch people running towards their destinations, only half aware of the splashes their feet make in the puddles. Too often, people forget to watch because they are so involved being the one hurrying to their destination. It’s healthy to take the time to see what’s happening around you and to notice the small things. When it rains, the water droplets crash onto different surfaces, creating a percussion of nature. In those moments, with a half-smile splayed across your face, you get lost in a world that’s shared with everyone, yet entirely your own.