Live Poet’s Society: Aloft

Beauty among ugliness -
Beauty among ugliness –

The following is a poem written by an artist I have come to not only respect but like – Check out his writing at www.bendonley.com – Or to keep him fed, hire him to be your SEO and marketing guru.

Question is:  Do people read poems anymore?  Are there any romantics or philosophers left to consume good words placed well?

I think this stuff is beautiful – sad and desperate – but beautiful.

What is your take on it?

——

                                                Aloft

In the meantime, as a lily aloft in dead fields –

Thoughtful

Kind and beautiful one could be

Better

Becoming better

Instead of seeking greatness in human memory

Instead of chasing

Just being planted here

Watered from below and above

Bent by winds but never carried away by trends that prevail

Being okay with a day to day placement

Thankful

Less likely to bemoan this stay or to pursue a stray escape

Days will go and come and go and then they won’t

Lily no longer

Pressures to be a rose, long gone

To impress, long gone

To do, long gone

 

May this meantime not be mean time

May this meantime not be me time

May this meantime not be meaningless

 

I wait aloft in these dead fields, and not alone.

 

B.D.

————–

Don’t you ever feel just like this?  Like you are stuck in a spot where you don’t belong?  Like you are the only one who is trying to live out beauty when everyone else has decided to decompose?

I can so identify with the pain of this guy’s stuck-ness.  I can also identify with his desire for the days to come to an end so that all the pressures of this world can be taken away.

I’m a big Kingdom of God believer and I want it to come – I think he does too.  Anyway, regardless of what you believe as far as afterlife, I think we can all agree that this now-life is a hard one.  And I think we can also agree that if we are going to be here a while in the midst of “dead fields,” we might as well stand tall showing off our creation and we better find someone willing to stand with us.

There ain’t nothing like lonely, boys!

Okay – Do your art today – whatever it is – And do it well!

ArtCAT? Do we deserve a pass?

punch
I have a friend who has a very different mind than mine.  And a very different passion.
He wants to become a plastic surgeon, which he says is going to be his way of bringing art and medicine together.
“People will be my canvas.”
That’s what he always says with tongue in cheek, because he knows that in truth, “People will be his meal ticket.”
He is an “artist” who will never starve – that is, if he can get into medical school, pass it, not kill a bunch of people during his residencies, and not become an opiate addict or Fight Club style insomniac.
I think he will make it.
Anyway, he said something to me the other day as he headed off to attend his official  2015 mcat prep course with an armload of some “great study” books that are known as mcat examkrackers or maybe mcat animal crackers or possibly both.
Here is what he said that challenged me quite a lot:  “It’s funny to me that I do all of this mcat prep to even get the chance to become the sort of doctor I want to be.  But, you don’t do any sort of prep to become the sort of artist you need to become.  You just grab a piece of paper and write.  Or you grab a roll of canvas and start painting.  No wonder you artists starve…”
He was half joking and half raising a vital question I’ver never given much thought to:  As an artist, what sort of devoted preparations do I make to even qualify as someone who is worthy to do art?
I once studied art.
I’ve read books.
I’ve been to museums.
I’ve taken some online guitar lessons.
I’ve watched Rachel Ray.
I’ve attended conferences.
But, I cannot say with confidence that I’ve even come close to the sorts of prep that my friend has entered into.  This dude sweats brain blood over a standardized mcat test and will have to go crossfit hard and harder each step of his process.
Do I sweat over anything?
Should I throw myself into some sort of Cubist-Dostoevsky-Jimmy Page-Julia Childs-Krackers course?
Should artists have to prep harder to become worthy to be named artists?
Or should we just kind of get a pass?  Should we just trial and error our way to artistic genius?  Hope really hard as we create that our creations are excellent?
Maybe we should start a program that has some measurables…
Maybe we need a ArtistCAT to determine if we should even be admitted to galleries and bookstores and kitchens and stages…
What do you think about this?
Should I just punch my buddy in the face the next time he acts like his “art” has been earned while mine has not?
Should I just punch him for the hell of it?
Comment away my fellow artists – that is if you have the energy.  I know starvation can make you pretty weak…

Betterness? Don’t be Bitter, baby!

It’s not easy giving credit to someone else who does something better than you do – It’s actually quite difficult to just go ahead and say, “Yes, that guy or girl or guy identifying as a girl or girl identifying as a black elephant has created something I only wish I could create.”  And then to just leave it there – without qualifications or subtle digs to make yourself feel better about getting the silver or bronze medal.

Admitting it is key to one’s own freedom.

There are people who write better than me.

There are people who paint better than me.

There are people who design better than me.

There are dogs who cook better than me.

There are cats who play guitar better than me.

There are actors who will always act better than me.

There are rappers who rap better than me (“Say it, Kanye.  Every day!”)

On down the line.

Once you can just say it out loud and without making excuses for yourself, you can then get back to just doing your art as a humble supporter rather than as a mad competitor.

Saying that someone did something better than you is now equal to admitting that you suck at what you do.  It’s simply recognizing the quality of someone else who is doing their best to add value to a sick and polluted planet.

Admitting someone else’s “better-ness”  also does not mean that you have to quit trying – Just because someone else has struck artistic gold or found the direct line to an ancient/present/future zeitgeist, does not mean that you need to move on to something else.

I cannot live up to Rothko or E.A. Poe, but does that mean there aren’t color and syllabic combinations still available to me that might catch someone’s eyes or ears.

You don’t have to capture the Pulitzer or land something in the Louvre – You might just capture one mind and inspire it to do and be better.

Can you live with that?

I can.

I have to.

Too many blank pages and too much blank canvas out there –

Too much need for attempted beauty.

I give credit to Ben Donley for his honest blogs and to my favorite unknown author, Loud A. Smith, for waking me up to this reality.  We artists must stick together and encourage one another to keep at creation in all of its forms.

I’ll even end this blog with a shout out to Kimye for “creating” one heck of a cute kid – Go North!

Till next time…

northwest

 

The Love of Money is the Root of All Artistic Compromise?

DreamTaxi Marketing and Media drives artists like me to where we want to go.
DreamTaxi Marketing and Media drives artists like me to where we want to go.

The Bible’s famous statement that the love of money is the root of all evil seems to be quite true – not only on the macro level, but on the micro levels.

Are there exceptions to this generalization?

As with anything, there most certainly are exceptions – but the aforementioned statement has so much the majority of evidence and proof from about every biological, political, and historical record that the exceptions are like grains of sand on an interstellar beach the size of Jupiter.

Loving money drives direct and indirect evil in every industry and this evil via financial affinity does not miss the hearts of even the best artists.

One can easily see compromise in art as even its dedicated starvers get sick of starving and trade in their beauty making and become designers of what the masses demand.  All of us artists run at some speed – some slower than others in hopes of maintaining a form of protest to the almost imminent and required kowtow – toward salary – willing, even with loud groaning, to afford life.

But do we really have to give up our vision of art in whatever creative field we have found?  Can’t we instead become a night stocker at a grocery store or a night stalker for the FBI to get paid and leave our art in its pure state?

I guess it is the choice of each artist – I find it to be a tough one for me most days.

But, I usually side with the love of my art to lead me into some sort of deeper satisfaction than to side with my love of money – which might lead me to a nicer house and car, but leave me with a rather “evil” taste in my mouth.

What about you?

When was the last time you chose the love of art over the love of money?

How do you keep yourself from compromising your vision when the money offer seems too good to be true?

The author Loud A. Smith, a friend of mine, says about his book series entitled “Mesus“:  “I could have very easily turned this story into a crowdpleaser with a compromising tweak here and a dumbing down there – I could have made a lot more money from it.  But, if I had pleased the crowd to pocket green paper, I would not have been able to look at myself in the mirror.  And I definitely would not have liked what I put out there.  I may drive a 2006 Saab, but at least I didn’t drive myself mad by loving money more than my version of art.”

His Saab sucks.

But, his words don’t.

Comment away my friends…

Check out his world at Loudsmith Media when you can in the meantime…