Tuesday, April 28, 2009

speaking of the right words

people sometimes ask why this blog. because it's cathartic? maybe. though a private journal could contain my catharsis. because it's what i do; that's some of it. writing is what i've always done, what i've always taught, what i've always loved. and i don't know how else to do this thing that i'm living, whatever it is...so that's part of it. because it's a way to invite people in? yes, in a marginally-safer way, in an i'm-not-even-sure-if-you're-there kind of way. (welcome in, glad you're here, i guess, whoever you are).

and then i read this, on the blog of this person who is my irl* friend (whose blog i very much recommend), who borrowed it from the blog of this person i don't know, but who i think is her irl friend (whose blog i now also very much recommend), who quoted this person, who i also don't know, but who has definitely found the right words, the rest of whose words i'm thinking i want to read:

(*irl = in real life, which i learned from this person, who i also don't know but whose blog--which is absolutely unrelated to this post except for the irl* thing but very much related to some other posts and also this thing i'm living--i definitely recommend)

All ambition has the reek of disease about it, the relentless smell of the self....
So long as your ambition is to stamp your existence upon existence, your nature on nature, then your ambition is corrupt and you are pursuing a ghost.

Still, there is something that any artist is in pursuit of, and is answerable to, some nexus of one's being, one's material, and Being itself. The work that emerges from this crisis of consciousness may be judged a failure or a success by the world, and that judgement will still sting or flatter your vanity. But it cannot speak to this crisis in which, for which, and of which the work was made. For any artist alert to his own soul, this crisis is the only call that matters. I know no other name for it besides God, but people have other names, or no names.
An artist who loses this internal arbiter is an artist who can no longer hear the call that first came to him. Better to be silent then. Better to go into the world and do good work, rather than to lick and cosset a canker of resentment or bask your vanity in hollow acclaim.
We come closer to the truth of the artist's relation to divinity if we think not of being made subject to God but of being subjected to God -- our individual subjectivity being lost and rediscovered within the reality of God. Human imagination is not simply our means of reaching out to God but God's means of manifesting himself to us. It follows that any notion of God that is static is not simply sterile but, since it asserts singular knowledge of God and seeks to limit his being to that knowledge, blasphemous.

Christian Wiman, "Love Bade Me Welcome"

i've wondered why, oftentimes when i can't sleep at night, it's this thing or that thing i want to write that won't let me rest. this thing or that thing that i'll post on this blog or that one or this other one for someone or maybe-you or no one to read. or that other thing i'll write in my journal for certainly no one to read. or even that email response, electronic conversation such as it is, that i have yet to finish, whose just-right words--or what if they're just-wrong?--may make or break the creation we call relationship.

i'm not sure i'm ready to weigh in on the genre of the blog, whether it's an art form (and oh! the definition of art and ever-so-many delightful intellectual rabbit trails we can walk in person some day maybe), though those bloggers, friends irl and not, who i mention above are certainly artists-at-work, as their blogs show so clearly. but if writing is a craft, at least, then the craftsman is in question for sure. from whence comes the call to create?

(and may i add that i've been thinking about dreams a lot lately, too, and where they come from? you'll see why--that is, why i add this--in a minute.)

"Human imagination is not simply our means of reaching out to God but God's means of manifesting himself to us." if God gave us our imagination, created it and all its workings, why not use it to be with us and in us and molding us? if God gives us the capacity to think, to dream, to paint or sculpt or write, why can't He use these very capacities to reach us? i love the idea that if we pursue Him in our craft, we are by so doing being pursued and filled by Him who gave us the capacity to create, even He who invented creation and Creation...and dreaming and drawing and dancing.

i know that God uses the artwork, the craft of writing, of so many irl and not-irl friends to teach me, but for Him to use my craft to be with me--my sleepless nights thinking of things i inexplicably somehow need to write--well, that's ever-so-much better. "subjected to God": i'll take it.

i'll be writing tonight, whether you're reading or not.