Art does not always pay very well. Or better yet, most times, art does not pay at all. At least not as far as money is concerned. I’ve been to street fairs where people sell their paintings, which are phenomenal; yet, no one knows the artist. In which case, art can be thankless.
Art can be hopeless and yet, this is when art is at its best. I say this because this is when art is at its truest. To hell with the critics and the judges. This is why I write. This is why I come here. I am here every morning before the sun comes up.
I come here because this is part of my life now. I no longer write because “I want” to be a writer. No, I write because this is who I am. This is my beauty which is personal, introspective, intimate and personal to me.
There are artists in this world who will never be seen or heard or known yet they can produce images or sounds unlike anyone else.
There are people who will create brilliant works of art and there’s a great big world out there and no one will get to see this.
I have a pencil drawing of me in a frame by my desk. I keep it here because this was drawn for me while I was presenting at a facility. I keep this sacred because the person who drew this of me is no longer with us. He died a few months after. His art is how I keep my memory of him alive.
My friend loved to draw but no one ever knew and most of the world will never know. They’ll never see what my friend could do, which is why I keep the drawing of me.
This was his art.
I have friends who play the guitar. There are times when I’ve seen them play as if their emotions sang through their guitar strings.
I can hear them scream, weep, think and laugh. I can hear all of this simply by listening to them play the guitar. In fact, I have a friend out west who plays the saxophone. He says that not a lot of things make sense to him. He says the world is a crazy place. But his music helps.
His music makes sense to him. He tells me that when he plays, he can close his eyes and the notes he plays seem to speak for him better than he can speak for himself.
This is his art. He put an album out not too long ago. In fact, he’s got another one on the way.
As for me, this is my art; my writing. I call this my thing. This is my trick. This is my ipso facto, presto-chango, hocus, pocus, alakazam or otherwise known as my magical words.
This is how I build. This is how I live and breathe. This is how I sift through the crazy thoughts in my mind and move to the magician’s beat of “Now you feel it . . . now you don’t!’
This is why I’ve created this place, here in my head. This is why I write this book of journals and the countless ones before it.
I have built this little loft of mine into a place where I can transform and transcend and hopefully, in the end, I can write myself a prescription to the solution of all my needs.
My art is my way of processing and speaking the things that I can’t seem to say. I come here to relieve the tension in my head. At the same time, I can express myself here without judgment.
I can be me. I can laugh or cry. I can ignore the outside opinions and leave the critics at the door.
This is why I write.
I write because this makes sense to me even if nothing else makes sense, at least I have this. At least I have my special relief valve to drain me of my craziness, which is not an easy thing to do.
I write because this is my action. I write to keep myself humble. This is my way to replace my thoughts. Rather than wallow in myself or self-pity, I found an outlet. I found a way that I can literally pierce the membrane of my thoughts and let excess drain away.
I can’t do much about the price of gas, except bitch about it when I’m at the pump. I can’t stop the craziness in my city. I can’t stop the news from coming.
I can’t do anything about the traffic during rush hour and I can’t seem to match the winning lottery numbers so I can hit it big.
But maybe that’s not for me. Maybe I’m not supposed to be the next lottery winner. Maybe I’m not supposed to be working in an office. Maybe there’s something else in store for me.
Maybe this is where I’m supposed to be. Or, maybe I’m still in the early stages of a transformation that I can’t understand.
The reason I write is the reason that I am alive. I had to find something that made sense to me. I had to find a voice that could speak for me. And here it is. My words and my thoughts are my creation; but more, this is my art.
I believe the written word has amazing abilities. We can see things in our mind. We can read and imagine. We can glorify fiction and relive history. But for me, I wanted more than this.
I wanted to find ways to create pictures. I wanted to create a narration of thoughts and feelings.
I wanted you to hear the words I write. I want to write in a way that you can see pictures and imagine the scenery. For example, as I write to you now, I want you to imagine me typing away.
I wonder what the picture in your head must look like.
I want you to feel my words and hopefully, you feel my words the same as they’re intended to be felt. But I get it. Art is interpretive. Words are subjective. And for some, well, I guess I’m not their cup of tea.
And that’s fine. As a matter of fact, this has to be fine.
I go back to some of the loneliest sectors of my life. I can see where I was. I can remember how I felt and what I believed. I recall what it seemed like to have so little, to feel so lost and to be so lonely.
But at least I had this. At least I had my special relief valve.
I had my art to keep me company.
There are some who paint and draw. There are some who dance or sing. There are some who play guitar or the piano, the drums, the horn, the sax, or whatever this may be. But as for me, I write.
I do this because there is nothing between us now.
There is no disturbance or interference. There is nothing but a keyboard, which I type on, and my white computer screen. And I tell you, this is beautiful.
I am not thinking about the next words that I will write. However, I am simply typing without thinking and watching my words on a screen.
At my best, I was here to meet you with all the love in my heart. I had “Gratitude in my attitude” because I knew in my heart that if it wasn’t for you; I would have none of this.
At my worst, I came here because I know that this place would never reject me. I could never be ugly here. I could never be unwanted or uninvited. No one here would ever call me names.
I am welcome here in my little studio because this place is mine. This is the place where I fit.
That’s why I write.
And sure, it would be great for some hotshot agent to come and find me and say, “Hey kid, where’ve you been? We’ve been looking all over for you.”
It would be great to make the top of the best seller’s list. It would be great to be known and sought after. Of course, this would be great.
My writing has never paid much. At least not from a financial perspective. But anyway, my royalties and book sales are not my incentives. No, this is my incentive; to connect to a feeling or a misunderstood concept in my head. I come here to cope. This is like a fix to a junkie. This is my opiate and my way to imagine the actions that will help change my life. My pen and my friend, the trusty keyboard and my partner, the cup of coffee beside me . . .
As I see it, everyone needs a relief valve. Everyone needs a way to drain the excess thoughts to keep them sane. I use this art to stop my thinking from congesting my dreams.
We all need an outlet. Some cook. Some bake. Some people create comfort food in their kitchen and some build gardens and arrange flowers. Some create symphonies. Some people write and some people read.
So, why be a writer?
I write because this is what I always wanted to do. I loved the sound of the idea. I loved the concept. I loved the feeling and the texture that comes with the thought of me and my art.
I write to prove that I can still do this; but more, I write to defy my old self and my old fears. I write to defy my old way of thinking and to overcome my old beliefs.
I write because I want to be better and sometimes, to be honest; I write because I struggle. I have bouts in my heart and in my soul.
I am a real person, flesh and blood, breath and bone.
Sometimes I write because I don’t want to bleed or hurt just to prove I’m alive. Mostly, I write for this feeling I have now, which is beautiful.
I love when I come to the end of my journal entry as if to form a constructive conclusion. I hit the “Publish” button at the top of my page and then I let the universe take it from there.
I think it’s brilliant. It’s perfect.
But more than that, this is my art.
(And so are you.)