Pain. There are a lot of opinions about it. Particularly in artistic circles. Are you sensing a trend here? Some deep thoughts? Perhaps. As may be obvious I have been thinking a lot in the last few days about the other things one considers when they have time to think. Usually life demands so much of us and gives us so little time for ourselves that we don’t get the chance to ponder things. During my time off from the blog, I traveled among some writers – or maybe less traveled among, than more went along for the ride. I went to new blogs, read, commented – took on the mantle of the persona of my other blog and experienced what it felt like not to be Writer Chick. It had been something I’d been planning for a long while, actually and would have happened much sooner, but snafus in the freelance department, friends having fatal accidents, then new blogs to push back the grief… And so on. Many things that ate my energy and took my attention. Many things that changed my perspective forever and whatever the previous perspective was I couldn’t tell you now, so gone is it, so never was, is it – not even a shadow remains of it.
So, I lined up some friends to write me some posts and off I went. It was a curious world to travel in, I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I liked it. I found it filled with wonderful writing and also huge egos, odd ideas, isms, prescribed methods of thinking and a lot of form over function – still the writing was awfully damn good and interesting and in some cases, exciting. Certainly inspiring and challenging. I felt a child among savvy, sophisticated thinkers, unable to divine their in jokes and witty repartee and felt like I wandered about this particular part of the blogosphere with my virtual mouth agape, jaw on the floor. An exotic and exhausting vacation – exotic because of the newness, exhausting because for the first time in a very long time I was able to just throw myself into what I consider to be my work. I have written nearly 30 pieces in the last week. Which may not seem like much to some writers but it was an enormous amount for me.
I became almost obessessed with it – and I do think some part of me was owned by it. I would get up in the middle of the night to scribble down this and that – I’d be in the middle of a conversation with someone and a phrase would leap out of me while I was trying to keep up my end of the conversation and still scramble for paper, pen and the words. Exhausting. Draining. Wonderful. And I honestly did worry that when I went back to being Writer Chick it was all going to go away and I would be dashing off memes and jokey lists once again. I’m sure there will always be memes and jokey lists here on this blog but I am also sure that I will not lose whatever it is I gained this past week. Perhaps it was the fruition of these many past months which began last November about seriously pondering how to be what I was, am – a writer. Where it all comes together in one crystalized moment or it could have been the company I kept during that time or a combination of both or something else altogether. No matter how many times a writer is asked where their ideas and inspiration comes from I don’t think any of us can really give the exact answer – from everywhere and nowhere, from all of your experience and the lack thereof, from all of the love you’ve ever felt and all the tears you’ve ever spent, from all the wonderful things that you will discover in the future. From everywhere and everything is now my answer to that question.
Sorry…I digress…yes, back to pain. Here’s the thing – there are many artists out there whether they are writers, painters, dancers, actors, poets, sculptors, and so on who believe that pain is a primary motivation for their art. And I was certainly among them because what is more exquisite than the sharpness of deep pain? And despite it’s awful attendant physical and emotional tearings one does feel alive during it. And I think it is this aliveness that brings this idea to the fore. I think that because great love songs are written in the throes of great loss, great paintings painted at the pique of despair and incredible dances delivered on searingingly painful legs that it is easy to believe it was the pain that forced the beauty through. But I don’t think it’s true.
I think that greatness in a person’s art, whatever the form, comes from all things, all feelings, all interactions and that if pain has any significant part in it, it is because the way an artist works through their pain is with their art. Sort of a Catch-22 I guess. I know when I am in pain it is easier for me to write about it than talk about it or even ironically think about it. It is easier to take that surge of enormous, white hot energy and pour it into something that will eventually, hopefully become beautiful. It is the proverbial making of lemonade from lemons.
So, for all my strange travels and foreign experiences this week, I think my biggest lesson is this: that I do not have to be married to pain to produce beauty. I do not have to have horrible hurt to have depth in my words. I do not have to own a particular emotion more than any other. They all produce that which leads to the thing we eventually create. It was a good lesson. I’m glad I learned it.
And once again, sorry for not being funny, as I intended to be. Though I will keep trying. 😉