This morning, I found a note I'd written to someone in college, and never gave them... it's TYPED, double spaced. On a TYPEWRITER (I hated dot matrix printers from their inception, and so loved the print function on my typewriter, that I kept it). It's so ...full of sound and fury and earnestness and meaning(lessness) that I have to share it with you. Remember the YA novel about calling your past self to give yourself advice? This is me contacting my future self with a letter instead.
I'm not sure I achieved what I set out to say -- and, forgive the hyperbole and the dramatic cynicism -- my college years did lend themselves to these things, after all.
It is a struggle to be an artist in a dying world.
It's true, you know; the world is dying by degrees, slowly draining its vital resources into a quagmire of futility. We are going absolutely nowhere fast. How does the artist, he or she who is attuned to beauty and peace and eschews the crude, vulgar, or ugly -- how does one cope in a slowly fading, slightly drooping, silently sliding, swiftly tilting planet?
The answer, I believe, lies in the will to produce. Most artists have a keen drive to leave their mark on the world. In making a place for oneself, one need only to observe, digest, and divulge. Writewritewritewritewrite. Regardless of the fact(s) that upon occasion what one writes is silly drivel, fully useless and quite unreadable; regardless of the fact(s) that the world is an ecologically unsound, biologically unstable and horrendously evil, look. Look at it. Look at it and live... not because of it, certainly not through it...merely live.
I wish I could teach you to feel. At time it appears that there is too much to feel, too many swirling emotions that envelop one like a fog. We are taught not to feel, not to give in to the madness. But,
if you let it take you, if you let yourself go and ride the avalanche,
...you will learn to gently break your fall. Yes, you'll cry a lot, yes you will be enraged at the apparent callousness and stupidity of the world at large...
but you will feel. and you will write.
The artist, I have since learned, does not, in fact, eschew the "the crude, vulgar, or ugly," because those things, too, are a part of life, like it or not. But, there is some truth there... I was fumbling my way towards some major epiphanies. (Emphasis on fumbling.)
What's a relic from your young adulthood that you've run across lately?