On being an artist


It’s the 2 a.m.
Eyes wide open
downing mug after mug of coffee
to convince yourself that it’s the caffeine stealing your sleep
words flying from your fingertips
ink flowing from some black abyss
An instinctual force
to create
as essential as breathing

It’s the spiritual desert
soul bare and dry and empty
digging painfully into the depths of your heart
to find some well-spring of inspiration
failing time and again
each day an endless, scorching journey
Wishing some idea, some beauty
might quench the thirst that drives your being
Unblinking eyes, blank pages

It’s the contentment
as calm and powerful as the ocean
when you say
“it is complete”
surveying a piece of your soul
still fused deep into your being
resting after hard, joyous labor

It’s the trepidation of the release
after giving your creation wings
letting it fly into the world
A piece of yourself
now displayed for all to see
So unsure of how each lens will interpret
your own lens’ view

It’s the critic’s knife
that severs the creation from you
that pierces your heart
that minces your art piecemeal
until its form and meaning are utterly lost

It’s the loneliness
seasoned with tears
when ridicule
or at least confusion
meets your best efforts
Knowing that none understand
You wonder
Am I crazy?
Have I nothing to contribute, to say?
Yet I must go on
Driven by need which I do not understand
but cannot deny

It’s the suffocation of obscurity
when you doubt your own existence
Do my words have any meaning?
Does anyone care?
Am I just a speck of dust
screaming into the cosmos?

It’s the birdsongs of a grey pre-dawn
as night turns into morning
while you furiously create
Nature’s clock a surprise
startling you out of a trance
a world refreshed12d22fbeceaf25821bc99c204ecbe0d2
while you sit spent and bone-weary

It’s the way that beauty finds you
no matter where you are
every voice a song
every gaze a poem
every step a dance
Each moment is eternity
So we go on creating.

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