Sunday, January 3, 2010

digging deep and living for eternity

One of the things that i love the best about being an artist is that i get to think all the time about creating for eternity. it is wonderful to think of. and i can feel my thoughts changing from project to project. sometimes, i am not creating for eternity. in lots of commissioned projects it's like, trying to infuse a sort of commercial idea with as much eternal quality as you can. yet, because the idea itself isn't built for eternity, it can't get all the way there. it isn't speaking to the very best in people because it has an agenda of its own.

but, the best thing, the most humbling and exciting thought, is to think what will i make for all eternity? what will i make simply because it is good? what is the best, most beautiful thing i can do? or maybe even better, what is the thing that most compels me? fascinates me? makes me feel alive?

To quote from a delicious book called "Genius" by Harold Poole, that i am reading right now, "We all know the empty sensation we experience when we read popular fiction and find that there are only names on a page, but no persons. in time, however overpraised, such fictions become period pieces, and finally rub down into rubbish." and later, speaking of Shakespeare (who Poole adores as the greatest literary genius of all time), "The dead genius is more alive than we are, just as Falstaff and Hamlet are considerably livelier than many people i know. vitality is the measure of literary [or any other kind, says i] genius. we read in search of more life..."

among other things, this "genius" that he talks about in the above quotation, is largely about what people can do when they think in terms of the eternal. not "what will pay the bills?" or "what will keep me happy?", but "what is native to eternity?"

Poole makes another wonderful statement. "My subject (genius) is universal, not so much because world-altering geniuses have existed , and will come again, but because genius, however repressed, exists in so many readers" (implying the public).

and he chooses a quote from Emerson which could be exciting to us all,"The world is young: the former great men (sic) call to us affectionately. we too must write Bibles, to unite again the heavens and the earthly world. the secret of genius is to suffer no fiction to exist for us; to realize all that we know."

What do we know of eternity? what do we feel of it? How are we bringing that knowledge and feeling out in our lives, in what we say and do? in what we make? these are the things which, in the doing give us more life, and in the receiving, give others more life.

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."


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