One Solitary Life

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”

James Baldwin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApondering artistic stuffmaking a masterpiece at Artscape
A friend of mine, a fellow writer but not a writer-friend, like she’s a friend who happens to be a writer too (writers will understand the distinction I think)…umm, a long definition to get to the point: we were talking.

Which when we do turns into one of those “girlchild let’s plan a life where this is all we do all day” type of talks.

On dating: I tell myself to date but then I end up occupying my time with other stuff and catch myself a month later reading my intention journal like, oh yeah, you forgot to do that.

On diet:  I had some vegetables.  That spot serves vegetables. Let’s go eat vegetables.  And all the stuff.  Let’s try the spot because you see it has.  All. The stuff.

On careers: Let’s get free.

On hair:  I’m bored.

Then, inevitably on writing: Let’s get a gimmick.

Everybody seems to have an angle, we decide. A hard luck tale usually.  My non-empirical research among artists has found that we perform at peak in the throes of turmoil.

The favorites seem to come from sexual and class identity–challenged sexual and class identity to be specific.  Tragedy works well too, especially in the sense of loss.  None of which have been central to my life in that dramatic style that seems to write its story-gone-viral ticket.

Are we writing to a drama and tragedy-obsessed readership?  Or are we writing our truths, the ugly that they are?

Must they always be so-o-o ugly?

Maybe that’s who artists and their consumers have always been.  Maybe I’m just justifying my thick folder of rejection letters.  Maybe I’m ranting (a promise I made you in the headline of this blog so you were duly warned).

Maybe it’s this suggestion I’ve often given myself, that it is extremes that draw us to others–our extremes which seem like the Gatekeepers of Lonely meet kindred spirits and link tight as a disco pants after broccoli.

I’m disappointed that these become their own gatekeepers through which no one else, none of us midlings anyway, can enter.  Okay, I’m generally more than disappointed, I’m pissed.

My stories fail at extremes so I find myself outside the gate.  (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

Bitter grapes isn’t my dessert of choice.  But, I am not here for the hard luck, dramatic tragedies that too often pass by virtue of how hard the luck, for “good writing.”

What of experience that doesn’t exactly scream with jazz hands and hissy diction, “Drama?”  It fails at my perceived gatekeepers’ idea of extreme, and thus acceptable, that’s what.

Perhaps, it is a gate I’d rather stay outside of, but even as artists admit that art-making is a solitary sport, there is an element of desire to be heard when we do it.  We create to voice our experience–first for ourselves, yes.  But voice, no matter to whom it’s speaking, first says, “hear me.”

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