Artists

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What makes an artist?

Submitted: August 30, 2013

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Submitted: August 30, 2013

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Being creative, some might say, is a trait you are born with. It’s something passed down like a gene; something in your brain that ticks a little differently than anyone else’s. That last part is true. Being an artist puts one in tune with a part of themselves that left brained individuals don’t have the capacity to understand. But the first part, is all wrong. Being an artist isn’t something that’s handed to a person. You don’t just wake up, look in the mirror and holy Jesus, Picasso is staring back at you.

I think, we all go through life living how we think we should. Following the leader. Staring at the back of the person in front of us. Day in, day out, one foot in front of the other. Then, BAM! We hit a crossroads. A pivotal point. A fleeting moment, where for the first time in our lives, we see all the space, just lying around us. We round that turn in slow motion, in awe, in shock. We can’t tell if this is a place of innocence, or of great danger. The seconds slow down… then all at once time stops.  

 First we feel angry. Why hasn’t anyone told us about this uninhabited place? This… unexplored openness that we could be flinging ourselves into?? But now we’re scared. We’ve kept our eyes down for so long. All we’ve ever known is the strain of muscle under skin, between the shoulder blades of a faceless person in front of us.  There has always been one sole direction: forward. We’ve always just followed. And without realizing it, time is wriggling its way back into our lives. Our view is turning into a smaller and smaller wedge, and soon all that wonderful, tempting space will be out of our sights. Maybe forever.

At this point, a few will resign to fear, pull their gazes away from the terrifying unknown that they would be so alone in. Their moment of glorious LIVING! Is over.

And we brave ones are left with a choice. We’ve passed the point where we can pretend it never happened. This new land, this light, is etched into the backs of our eye lids. We know these thoughts of curiosity will never go away. Now we must decide whether follow the lines, so kindly laid out for us, in black and white. The safe boundaries we have always resided within, knowing that we will never fell fulfilled, that we will never know warmth again. That our bodies will be shells, safe, but restrictive, and we would always have a searing desire to break free… or, we close our eyes.

We breathe in.

 

 

And suddenly everything we thought we knew doesn’t seem right anymore.

 

Panic.

When you decide that you don’t want to follow the preset lines, where the hell are you supposed to go?

Its hard to catch a decent breath.

What do I do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this point, some will talk themselves into blaming their new outlooks on a rebellious streak. Claim that it was a rite of passage that everyone must encounter, that gets them a ticket into the “real world” because they had the discipline to grow out of it. Get back in line. Black and white are the most logical colors. The most clean ones. No one could stand looking at either color and have a dispute about what they are called. These lines have a direction. And its safe to follow them, because the whole meaning of life is to just… Move… through it.

While the rest of us stand up on a hill. Realizing that the very thought of going back to that colorless, linear way of life will kill the fire that is starting to grow in our souls. There’s an ache in our bones pressing us in a new direction. Our calling doesn’t come from the end of a line like those unfortunate soles back on the dull, gray plane. Our calling comes from within; which is the most frightening realization of all.

An object in motion tends to stay in motion; and an object at rest tends to stay at rest. This is a rule. See, this is where it becomes obvious, that we left our life of direction long ago. We are all here, standing on this hill, realizing that if we can’t go back down, our only choices are to burry our heads in the sand, or go up. And as we’re climbing, the song in our heads telling us to FIND IT! Is growing louder. But what is IT? Where are we supposed to go? What are we supposed to do? Do we stop and find our bearings? Is there even time?!

 

And this is our life. There is no climactic resolve. We are stuck wondering. Always climbing up, bettering ourselves, refining our skills, but we never reach any completeness. There will always be a person furthest ahead when they die. They will stick a flag by their feet and call that spot the top of the hill, and for all of us who have never been far enough up to see otherwise, it will be the top.

And one day, the last of us will die out. When we have wondered grooves into the ground. Gone mad from the unrelenting voice we hear in our head. Dropped from sheer exhaustion and never found cause to get back up. 

But our ashes will blow away. And the plane will be left level, clear. Off in the distance, there will be faint lines. They look dull compared to the curves and colors that used to float though the air, but no one is around to know that.

 Little ants off in the distant land of gray. And there will be a few who break out of the line, to make a run for the hill. Not knowing where the hell they are supposed to go, but flying forward, knowing that keeping their eyes fixed on the ground isn’t the right choice anymore.

And they will climb. 


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