Sunday, March 31, 2013

Finding My Religion

Writing is the closest thing to a religious rite that I will ever have. Whatever pain is the shadow part of my creativity and enthusiasm for life is worth it, because the thrill of pulling an idea out of the ether and transcribing it the best you can with the tools of your medium is the greatest feeling in the world.

What is even greater is to realize that the ether is inside of you, not outside. In the past, artists have prayed to gods and muses and attempted all manner of voodoo to summon creative spirits to them, because they too were addicts of the creative process. Like all addicts, however, they look for the pusher. There are plenty of people who will be glad to sell you a product that they promise will facilitate your creation, but it's just another product off the cart, and will probably make your dick go limp in the long run.

The ether is inside of you, and it's exciting to feel something new percolating. I feel bad for all of the artists who have killed themselves because they couldn't bare the ebb and flow of the disease anymore; there are long spells of suffering, and they can seem like they will never end, but they do end. When that new epiphany comes to you, it's like you had never been alive at all before you had realized it. What is even more exciting is when you're not sure exactly what is going to come out, but you feel it moving inside of you; you see connections and themes. You see ingredients to the recipe, but have no idea what they go together to make.

For example: I have been possessed by the concept of destructive beauty, or finding beauty in destruction or destruction in beauty, or maybe beauty in spite of destruction. Maybe the theme that I am looking for is the coexistence of the two. In various mediums, the thing occurs to me again and again.

It started when I saw this photo of a bunch of children goofing around in the wake of a car bomb in Northern Ireland:

Then this video by Capital Cities, which pairs joyful images of dancing with the horrors of war and tragedy.

Then I watched the Movie 'The Life of Pi' with my family which conveys my theme quite explicity.

And I notice it everywhere: In Cincinnati, the city where I work, developers are making Over The Rhine--an impoverished area--much more beautiful in a certain respect. They're refurbishing buildings, bringing in new businesses, and have recreated Washington Park into an area that is much more comfortable and attractive. As they do this, however, they're threatening to drive the area's poor into neighboring Price Hill. They are homogenizing the population, and displacing important human services. The new park is very pretty, but gentrification is very ugly.

President Obama is a hope to many, and a breath of fresh air. His election marks an important cultural milestone for our country. He has a beautiful family that can serve as a model for all American families, and he has brought many young people and disenfranchised minorities into the political system. On the other hand, his drones amass civilian casualties in foreign countries with abandon. What does the Pakistani father of a son killed as collateral damage in a drone strike think of President Obama and his beautiful family and progressive policies?

And so it goes. I see the Yin and the Yang everywhere. It makes me very upset at times, but also brings a certain sense of order along with it.

I don't know what these different elements are going to form themselves into in the ether that is inside of me. Maybe the stew will be completely unedible. Who knows? Who cares. I am just a humble pot. I am most alive when I am hot.

I've discovered my religion. If you haven't already, I hope that someday you discover yours.

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