It’s interesting where we find our peace.
When we were children we found whatever it was that transports us to another dimension. For me it was reading, which is why the written word has always transformed my prosaic day to day life into something much more poetic. The ability of 26 letters and a handful of punctuation, limited like a simple palette of colors but nowhere near as infinite as the endless array of brushes and pigments and mediums available to other artists, to be arranged and rearranged to create thought, feelings, and words still blows my mind.
I’m still mesmerized by words. How can all the things of the universe as well as the exquisite beauty and ugliness of life and death, the fleeting moments of love and hate, the boring moments of laundry and chores, how can they all be expressed through a jumble of 26 letters, intent, and effort? I don’t think there is anything more magical then that. While I sit here and eat my breakfast of eggs, salsa, and tortillas, I can literally be transported into someone else’s mind and experience the world the way they see it, how they feel it, and how they experience this fleeting breath of air we call life.
Other children found this same wonder I feel toward the written word in painting or dancing or sculpture or sports. The transformation of the prosaic into the fantastic, in whatever way you find it, is what we are drawn to. It’s what makes life holy, religions flourish, and art indispensable.
I think of an ancient hunter, his mind still as he sits by the quietly murmuring stream, his senses open to information, his imagination conjuring up scenes of prey animals in the underbrush. Our genes carry his experiences, and we too share the same intimate connections between our selves and the wider and wilder world. In the thrill of the hunt and a conscious awareness of the life that he will take, the soul is transported beyond the static self into the ecstatic. After the hunt, the hunter picked up rocks to scratch what he saw, what he felt, what all had happened. From that point onward we began the evolution of the most human of all processes, sharing our lives.
I think I love the limitations that writing imposes on my creativity. Here is a pile of oddly shaped symbols, with some dots and squiggles, here is a piece of paper and pen, or a laptop and chair, and now I must create something out of thin air with whatever is swirling within my head. As any person attempting a creative act knows, the hardest part is to make something simple that truly conveys what you are trying to say, or what you wish to portray. After years of putting pen to paper, I probably won’t ever stop, and only with repetition and practice does it all seem a little easier.
Well, I gotta go feed the pigs.