THE ARTIST PEERS INTO THE RUBBLE OF DEATH AND DECAY and glimpses what one less inured to such travesty cannot. He sees form, even intricate structure of great complexity, and, ultimately, a singular, transcending beauty. The believer in what is not easily read by most people senses that, in the swirl of visual chaos and stench of life’s loss, renewed life will, assuredly, come forth.
With or without mortal man’s attendance upon life’s reemergence from the grave, this process is an unending cycle: life, death, renewal. The destruction of the painter’s canvas, the writer’s essay, or the composer’s manuscript is not an untenable blow to the creator’s genius. Whether the ensuing conflagration is by literal fire or the public’s outrage over a body of work ahead of its time, the perceptive artist knows the phoenix shall arise resplendent from the ashes. Her song shall be heard.
The masterwork hidden away in the cemetery of a cellar long forgotten will be rediscovered and premiered before a now humbled and contrite audience. The artist, at last freed from earthly care and turmoil, observes amongst a once unbelieving public what he never ceased believing:
Beauty shines forth where the eyes of others have yet to fall. Beauty sings forth what their ears have yet to hear . . .
You never know what will trigger a memory, a thought, an ensuing story.
Mom was an avid fan of Pearl S. Buck, who spoke Chinese before English. I, too, am a fan of that writer of captivating stories of the Orient. I have The Good Earth, My Several Worlds, and Far and Near.
Ms. Buck explains how her village in China was invaded by hostile forces and she and other citizens fled, with no time to gather up belongings. Left behind, too, was the manuscript of her new book. I need to rediscover the page where she describes her attitude toward leaving all behind. Very philosophical and accepting, I recall.
Having composed music and performed on stage for years, setting up art exhibits for myself and other artists, and posting poetry and short stories online for a dozen-plus years, I get what it's all about and what it isn't all about.
Most of us are small fish in a big pond. No matter. Fifty years ago I was prepared to set the world of art on fire. Now, I just want to stay warm.
Thanks, friends, for your input and friendship over the years.
What I have learned is that you must continue doing what you believe in.
Perhaps not so much a realized determination that you will pursue your dream (no matter what) as the innate, unstoppable impulse to create. The public's attention -- or inattention -- is not really of consequence. You put pen to paper, paint upon canvas, notes to staff . . .
Input from others is welcome but of such rare occurrence that, when it is offered, it becomes the simple joy of human interaction.