come into the sunlight
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
– Louisa May Alcott
We live in a crazy world, y’all. It can be crazy beautiful, as above. But it can also be plain crazy. My friend Soo last night was telling me she’s decided we might all be a cosmic joke, providing comedic theatre for the universe, or perhaps that we are in the midst of a Matrix-like scenario, just “some calculation being run.”
F. sits over in the red armchair, doing more of his interminable calculations for the doctoral work. Some people really do like calculations. I’m not sure I realized this until I fell in love with one of them. I once surreptitiously counted, and he’d gone 28 pages of his notebook on the same one.
Calculations are not what interests me this morning, nor the metaphysical considerations of whether we’re all some grand experiment and how you could possibly prove otherwise. Both topics give me a slight headache and make me want to stick out my tongue as if I’m still a sassy 5-year-old.
I’m thinking about finding and living your passion – and how this culture has made it so damned hard just to articulate your dreams if they diverge one jot from the standard-issue models. This can be especially daunting if you’re an artist, I think, because it may be difficult to name your dream in the first place, as it won’t look like anything that’s come before. We are all so unique, and an artistic life is one which expresses that uniqueness in defiance of cultural norms. (Of course, it’s a classic irony that artists of past generations may be the standard against which today’s artists are judged — that work having finally gained acceptance by the herd.)
Last week my creative cluster was going through week one of The Artist’s Way, and I went through some of the process over on my other blog. I didn’t yet publish any of my work on the issue of rejection and creative monsters, but I plan to do so soon. It takes courage, over and over again, to stand up and say, I may not know exactly how this will work out, but I am …. a painter, a sculptor, a documentary filmmaker, a fiber artist, a designer, a writer, a poet, a photographer. It takes great courage, as a child and as an adult, because most likely the response will be negative, doubting, and will center around whether the dream has already been accomplished. Otherwise, it is standard practice to discount artistic dreams as unrealistic, with a vanishing probability of “success.”
Most fledgling artists do not get the ideal amount of nourishment for those dreams in our early years. It seems almost a crime to me that I can give this sunflower the proper minerals and nutrients and trust in the sun and rain to be provided — and yet most artists, me included, are denied this because our culture is seriously out of whack. Some of us, if we were sunflowers, would have been stomped on repeatedly as seedlings, starved of moisture, denied space for our roots to spread, and fed an anemic diet of poor, chemically-depleted soil.
That is why, this morning, I am so admiring of Brandi over at The Joy Rebellion, for naming her dream honestly, as she now sees it, even though she cannot see how it will unfold yet. She bravely admits she doesn’t even know if it’s possible at all. But she’s still going to try.
Me, too. I’m still going to try. I may not be quite ready to name my big dream to a blog audience (although I love y’all, you know that; right?). But this morning I’m inspired by the sight of a sunflower, some rousing words from Ms. Alcott, and a fellow artist feeling her way forward on her own unique path.