So where do the power of words and images come from? Why does it matter that we can put them together in some neat combinations? Our words and images actually animate our experience and tell it in such a way meaning is conveyed.
Any sort of circumstances can be communicated. This is where it is sad but true. Art is no distinguisher of persons. Art is not moral in that sense, though it does have a way of favoring those things which are truthful and beautiful.
Can we ever say with clarity what is done with benevolence and grace? Not necessarily. The most “family values” of movies may have some underlying issues. Whereas at times the poet lost in the darkness of the underworld hit it.
That’s why street or gang-related hip hop can translate so easily to suburban white America. “Surviving the streets” is so far removed from the latter’s experience that they crave, in a sense, its visceral nature. Its “truths” set them free.
So, speaking the truth is essential to good art. But, we have lots of truths. We experience so many things that can remind us of truth. Which lessons do we focus on and why? This is the discernment part of art making.
Which experiences, hopes, thoughts we choose to convey will ultimately shape how and who people see us as. Why this one and not that one? Those are the questions that define us. Which things continually rise to the top as inspiration?
Partly its the things that actually make it to paper. Out of the hundreds of experiences we have daily only so many make it into our recollections and assessment. We can only reflect on so many things. That process is the start.
Once we begin reflecting certain experiences produce inspiration. We won’t always know why but certain things are fertile fields for creativity. Whether painful or exhilarating these experiences lead us to a pure inspirational goldmine.
Though certainly this process is beyond simple cause and effect. There are other elements at play than our own experience. Creativity itself seems to have an agenda. We are not alone in the creating, maybe at best we are co-creators.
In other words the words or the music them-self have been fighting for survival long before we get ahold of them. Like the one in a million sperm that happens to attach to the egg, there is a story built in, a DNA full of a life imprint.
We are simply the carrier. Perhaps at best we are the passive receivers. Certainly we court creativity (or more directly the Creator), we try to open ourselves up to receiving directly, but there is little credit that we can actually take in the process.
In some ways our “improving” as writers, artists, etc. only gets in the way. We start to rely on something in ourselves. We become more aware of the process. That is not good. Experience breeds contempt. In this realm, we must be perpetual virgins.