So what do we really know? What can we really prove? Who can we really impress with our cultured dialogue about coffee and fine foods? That’s what it comes about after a while. Can we “win” over the people with resources to us and our cause?
It’s very easy to fall prey to this scarcity mentality. Only a relative few hold all the resources and there is no way for me to get a hold of them...unless I play their games. The irony here is that all the attention gets put on the resources. People in scarcity mode forget what the resources are for, and whether they really need them in the first place. The beautiful thing about newer media outlets is that they remind us chasing the dollars may have missed the point.
The point is to get creative content to the people. Eventually there are costs to doing that (obviously) but keeping at the center that goal is key. That puts the artist in charge. Thinking only about the money it will take puts “the man” in charge.
It does NOT mean we decrease the size of our goals, in fact the opposite. Keep goals big, bigger than makes sense. Get to that edge where we can’t necessarily see the end to our dreams, but we also don’t fall into despair for lack of a next step. Plans don’t need to be elaborate 5-year indicators, at least not for the visionary. They need only to give us our next few steps. What is more important that plans are goals, outcomes, vision statements that describe what we long to see.
Then we have to start wrestling with that deep-seated enemy that raises the objection: “who are you to be thinking like this?” The real question is did we put those desires in there OR did we discover them? Is there something inherently “us” in them? If we can establish those desires were there than we have the perfect excuse for excavating them. We did not put them there. They were wired in at my birth as a distinct part of me. I am not at liberty to take them out of me without trying for them.
And besides that life is too short. We are here so little. We really don’t have time for all this whining and going back and forth. Either we go for it or we don’t. How are we going to make this world a better place? What is our mark? Some have wasted their precious opportunities ironically contemplating that very question. That is the beauty of the child or one lost in their curiosity. They do not even consider such things. They are mindlessly free to do what they love.
Their extreme focus is evidence that such questions do not drive nor distract them. Now, unfortunately, life happens and at some point we run into ourselves. Our existence forces itself upon us and such questions rise to the top.
Still, lose not the example of the enthralled child.
Be curious. Find wonder. Do the thing that lights you up. Shine bright like a diamond :-). Mind not anyone else. It is just you and the mortal reminder that this could be your last time to create.
The creative must be vulnerably open to the wounds of this world. We must be intensely aware of the suffering in and around us. We must feel the full weight of the burden of being human, with all its frailty and responsibility.
There is no doubt a seriousness to the work. Unlike a scientist or researcher, we do not go out with a certain premise in mind. We do not gather information to support a claim. Rather we simply go out and see what is really there.
That kind of painful honesty is the root of creativity. Out of those deep roots comes a special sort of longing, one intensely close to inspiration. It is related to the overall fatigue we feel when looking at the pervasive brokenness of the world.
Times of tragedy especially bring out this sense of otherworldliness, a connectedness with our ancestors (all those who have gone before us). The current world has little awareness or appreciation of such, which is in part responsible for the creative void.
The creative and the poet must dig around in our emotional dirt, connecting us to artifacts of our past world and reality. Our job is to remind people again and again there is meaning to life. We are not simply clogs in a machine.
We matter. Our work matters. Our thoughts matter. Our input matters. Our dreams matter. Our faith matters. In a world consumed with outputs (the external machine) we desperately need reminding that there is something more.
We need convinced again and again that there really is a greater power than survival. There is something higher on the human experience food chain than power and animal instinct. We are more than our survival. There is something higher.
In a word: love. Love will always be the soaring space for our imaginations. It will be the open invitation to see the world beyond survival, free tickets to the only show that can guarantee a quickening. It literally makes us more alive!
The choice to love may at times seem in tension with the pursuit of the creative. The overwhelming needs of the world will draw us into themselves. They may require of us action, dedication, commitment, time. We may be lured into them.
That is certainly not a bad thing but must be held in tension with our creative pursuits. It is NOT one or the the other, it is both. The creative pursuit is made better with the love, the love is made better with the creative pursuit - never in isolation.
Did the Beethoven's of the world have time to attend to the social needs around them? Was their greatest concern in life the next note of the their symphony? Certainly the masters had such single-minded fury that it may today border insanity.
But was their pursuit of the next note really bounded into the community and context to which they lived? In other words, was their music to them a social responsibility, not an tangental escape? Yes, yes, yes! Most assuredly the answer is yes!