Saturday, December 17, 2016

What kind of preacher

I hate words. They come, they don't come. Writing is too hard. I cannot stand the look of my own words. Words fail me and are disappointing. I used to think my life was a paucity of words...but it was really a paucity of kindnesses not heard. Or too many obstructions given, or floods-of-shame words.
There is a psychological test, where you are read a sequence of words that are related and point to an obvious word that isn't there. It's a memory test and none of the fifteen words read contain the "real" word. But you write it down anyway.  For example, if the list contains words like "pillow", "dream", "relaxed", "bed", "rest", "cozy", etc. the word that isn't there is "sleep".
The word that isn't there is a beast and a bitch and a world unto itself. I thought if only I had certain words or was able to make them do what I want then my life would be better; I'd be better, I'd be complete and somehow healed. I wanted books and people to give me the salve of their words, and some did.
But it wasn't enough. I hate my own words because I haven't found the ones that express the unimaginable yet. I haven't moved past my own significant limitations of thought and assumptions.It isn't the words, anyway. It is the spirit they carry. Sometimes they carry a spirit of self-hatred and I say to these bad-child words, go away. I can't write you down. I wouldn't want to anyway. I will hear you out later. And sometimes they carry a scarcity of spirit, and words just need to be quiet.
I am an artist in all things. I am not "great" at anything. I could not care less about being marketable. I don't make art or anything else so I can so I can put on pretenses and say, "oh, I'm a painter. I'm a poet. I'm a writer. I'm a musician."
No, because I will destroy anything I make and be fearless about that destruction. Just ask the balls of yarn formerly known as sweaters I've knitted. I will also fully honor anything I've loved making and will keep it as a treasure forever.  I make art so I can make some sense of this sordid world, and touch something that is soft and beautiful in my own spirit, and bring forth something that tells everyone else's story, too- only a little bit differently. I make art so I can live into this suffering and turn it into something else, something meaningful. I make art because I am compelled to do something with this pain, this love, this hope, this anger.
I make art so I can say, "what kind of preacher will I be today?" We are all preachers.
What will my testimony be? Wounds? Healing? Kindness? Want? Need? Destruction? Compassion? Beauty?
What spiritual thing am I trying to touch with mere human hands?
 It is always grace, for myself and for others. I need mercy.
So for today, my testimony will be to begin yet another canvas I will paint on for ten years, yet another sweater I wear and unravel.

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