It’s never a question as to if I can write. It’s always a question as to if I have time, or if my environment will allow it. The number of human beings that I can allow close to me is limited to the number who understands, or at least will try to understand, that I cannot stop writing, and there are times that I must write. This condition does not allow for transgression. It is a terminal illness held at bay by text. It is addiction I have no intention towards a cure. It defines most clearly who I am inside the confines of my own mind, and without it I fear the bare walls that would appear.
I did not ask for this nor did I seek it out. It appeared quite out of the blue and from the steppes of the keyboard yet I seek no release. Perhaps this is my sentence, no pun intended, for the crime of nonstop thought, or reading too much, or believing those people who live only within fiction deserve company and a country. The idea that those whose lives are only defined in ink or binary code, are citizens somehow. That they live as surely, perhaps more surely than most humans and they are as real as any other reality, is an alien thought to those who do not read or do not write. For those of us who do there is nearly a religious adherence to these lives and what they mean and have meant and will mean. Reading and writing are both a sacrament to the gospel of literacy. And we all come to pray in the church of creativity.
Were you to travel into the woods, deep away from the noise and light of civilization you might come to the shack of a Hermit, and discover carvings made of wood on a shelf. These are not David, nor the work of anyone who has molded stone with sweat and love, nor are they beautiful or worthy of some place under a light in front of a crowd. But they are the heart and soul of someone who is compelled to carve, to work the grain until a face or a shape appears, and no less that man am I. Little do I care for bound books with my name sideways on the spine, or a place on a best seller list; I wish only to write.
The sculptor removes all the stone which does not serve him or all the wood that covers the figure within. The composer adds notes in the air until they land on a piece of paper before her fingertips, to be remembered and recalled at will. The artist who paints causes a stream or a river, or perhaps an ocean to flood a blank canvas, and then it stops, never to flow again, for it has frozen over with the soul of the artist contained within each pigmented wave and whirlpool. The singer casts her voice into the air and captures hearts. The violinist turns strings into the airy spirits of humankind that echo in the wind. None of this requires an audience nor should it. Yet with each reader, for each member of the concert hall, each person in a museum or a gallery, there is a gift given and a yearning awakened in all. In every page of every book there is a heartbeat. In every stroke of a brush there is the lifeblood of someone who will never die. Every lens that snaps shut captures not just a moment in time, but that moment frozen in the eye of someone who saw something that everyone else might have missed.
Everything you see in the human world, each door knob and each appliance, each lamp shade and each building, was drawn by someone, somewhere, before it came into being. For something to appear in reality it had to first appear in the human mind. There are those who would tell you God created the Universe and if so this being created Hell, and just so, then rightfully, for if we are truly created by that creature who would form both paradise and the end of everything good and beautiful, then we humans do the same. We design both marvels and horrors. We build enormous works of arts and we waste mountains. We are both the Gods of this Earth just as we create it into a hell.
We wonder that some god does not step in to undo the destruction of its creation yet perhaps we are indeed made into such an image for we do not step in either, where this god fears to tread.
Perhaps, and in this I shall be laughed at by many, perhaps the artists are the angels of the human world, those who create and sing, and play, and paint, and write, so human beings can see a side of their own world that is in its own right divine. Are there not great pieces of music meant to be played with a choir to sing and a symphony to play, in a great hall, for an audience of thousands? And is there not someone out there who write of us a thing knowing full well an audience of ten would be much to expect? Yet every leaf on any great tree shares the divinity with the mighty boughs of the tree.
Is this creativity that we express, be it in song or written word or paint or dance, is any of this anything but a meager salve for the woes that each of us carry? Do we really spark the human heart in ways that matter? Is all of this, any of this, perhaps, maybe some of this, more than just the sum of the words or the breath of the lungs, or the eye that captures a moment, is any of this more than who we are?
Is this the way that we can be more than who we are?