How the Artist Saves the World

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It’s before dawn on an inky black morning in late November.  A sudden slap of thunder collapses over me, slamming the hairs on my neck straight up.

And I know in this fear-strangled moment. The Apocalypse is upon us.

In hindsight, I’m sorry I didn’t alert you guys but to be fair we’ve not yet exchanged phone numbers (it’s not you, it’s me) and I have a dysfunctional relationship with Facebook right now.

But we all damn near perished at approximately 05:14:00 Eastern Standard Time last Tuesday. And at some point on Wednesday. And a couple of times over the weekend (the weekend details are still sketchy; I may have passed out more than once).

We’re still here, though, thank the sexy buddhas, and do you know why?

Because after a sweeping lot of blood, tears and shredded fingernails, I finally found the right words for some poems I was working on at the aforementioned time(s).

So.

I know this all sounds like first degree bullshit. But let me explain.

You know the situation where you are writing a delicious twisted thing and you would give anything to find the right words?

Your teeth grind and you start to sweat and you feel like you will die and the world will surely die with you a fiery collective death with the wailing and the shrieking and the horror and the zombies?

And it will be all your single-handed fault because you couldn’t find the right fucking words?

And you so desperately fear this eminent wretched pending peril that you begin to quietly lose your mind and bargain with the universe to not lose any more of it? So you swear you’ll go without wine and orgasms and chocolate and a warm bed and online shopping and coffee (okay seriously: coffee is below the belt. Sorry troops, let’s not get dramatic) – if you could only find THE WORDS?

Any of this sound familiar?  No?  Maybe just even the sweating?

Well, this all happens to me at least a few times a week. I can scare myself to the Apocalypse and back in the time it takes the average lunatic to make espresso.

Writing is my fire. It’s how I find the words when I don’t otherwise know what to say. There have been times when I couldn’t breathe and the writing held my heart (and lungs) and did the breathing for me.

Writing is a sacrament. It is every sacrament.

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sacrament (by me)

Have you a thing like this? An artistic desire to express the deep stuff, the feelings, the emotions, the raw beauty, the ripping sorrow?

This artistic hunger for true expression is what Wassily Kandinsky, in his incredibly powerful book Concerning The Spiritual In Art, calls the Inner Need. It’s a spiritual desire that we’ve all got brewing inside of us all the time.

“THIS ‘WHAT’ IS THE INTERNAL TRUTH WHICH ONLY ART CAN DIVINE, WHICH ONLY ART CAN EXPRESS BY THOSE MEANS OF EXPRESSION WHICH ARE HERS ALONE.”
– Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning The Spiritual In Art

(Note: I put this quote in all caps because that is how Wassily Kandinsky puts it in the book so I can only assume 2 things: 1, I’ve no business uncapping something the author capped, and 2, The Wassily was obviously fired up about this point and therefore SO SHOULD WE ALL BE.)

The Need is coded into each of our souls and constantly begging to be explored. Artists have a deep need to accurately express a certain thing, an emotion, that is impossible to get at any other way.

There is hard work involved in producing this kind of soulful art. There are private ghostly encounters, struggles, sword fights, trysts and negotiations with the devils and the angels and the gods. It’s all very beautiful and strange.  And necessary.

“Veiled in obscurity are the causes of this need to move ever upwards and forwards, by sweat of the brow, through sufferings and fears. . . . But there never fails to come to the rescue some human being, like ourselves in everything except that he has in him a secret power of vision. He sees and points the way.” – Wassily Kandinsky

Whatever the obstacles, the words must be found. And whenever I find myself at a place in my life where things are deeply challenging or troubling, I have to get into writing poetry to keep in touch with my soul. Nothing else will do.

And poetry, beloveds, doesn’t screw around.

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ghost (by me)

Poetry is straight-up soul work. And in writing the book that is my life, it’s required evolutionary material.

Because when an inner tough time has to be resolved, it will be outwardly expressed either through destruction (addictions, bar brawls, violence, etc.) or evolution to a higher consciousness (art, spirituality).

Given the royal disaster that is the global situation these days, I think we would all be wise to lean heavily toward the latter.

So maybe I’m just writing poems or you’re just painting a picture or he’s just singing a song or the kid’s just drawing a seven-eyed monster holding hands with a purple tree upside down, but what we are actually doing at a soul level is sharpening our ability to find the right words.

We are learning to express our truest emotions in a way that is healing and prolific.

Artists have faith that we can take the stuff that’s hard to say and figure out a way to say it that brings forth wisdom, validation, and peace.

Tricky as it may be to pull off, making good art (we adore you, Neil Gaiman) teaches us how to find the right words (colors, chords, beats). And we need to learn how to find the right words so that we don’t destroy ourselves.

So that we can all get back to wine and orgasms and chocolate and not-perishing-by-Apocalyptic-fire and coffee (nonsense! we never gave up coffee).

Conveniently, all of this also proves my super-top-secret theory that artists – the only wild beasts clever enough to dive into the emotional fray and carefully find the right words – will be the ones who save the world.

Of course we will.

We do it at least a couple of times a week.

 

~ ~ ~

P.S. Are you a poetry fan? I post (almost) daily on Instagram @glorybegin and I’ve put some up here on the blog (click here to go to my new poetry page). Most of all, a HUGE Thank You for encouraging and supporting me. It means SO MUCH more than I could ever say. xx

P.P.S. Thank you for sharing my posts with your friends and family and lovers (and secret lovers). I am so deeply, deeply honored and encouraged by it. Much love to you and yours. x

32 thoughts on “How the Artist Saves the World

  1. Susan

    This explains perfectly why when I am in a crisis I get creatively manic. I need to sew, paint, write…SOMETHING, ANYTHING to move the emotion, the fear, the struggle through my body and into the art. Brava, my friend, brava!

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      YES. Your comment is PERFECT, beautiful Susan! I LOVE how you say it moves through your body and into the art. Just 1000% yes.
      Love you, soul sister. BIG time. Thank you so much. xx

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Allison ….provoking post …I love ” writing is a sacrament ” ….your gorgeous words are on fire ….love and blessings , megxxx

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Oh, Meg – I am without words to thank you enough. Please know your comment means so much.

      Much love to you and your beautiful, beautiful artistic soul. ❤️ xxxx

      Reply
  3. Brad

    I love your passion, grittiness and commitment to your creative self Allison. Thank you. Most of the time writing is fairly easy for me, except certain poetry or when my life is a hot mess and I’m trying to find the way to express, honor my feelings, be uplifting and not get lost in feeling. Then I feel the angst you describe.

    Keep on saving the world! XD

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Brad, my friend, I love your words and spirit in this place – I am humbled and blessed by it each and every time. So I thank you, too, so deeply, deeply and much. :)
      I know exactly what you mean. Writing is a slick thing – your flowing along gracefully and everything’s a peach and then BAM – stuff gets hairy. And you are also correct that I was a hot mess there for a minute (who, moi?!)
      I love how you say this: “trying to find the way to express, honor my feelings,” – YES. This. Exactly. The Angst will test the will of the artist every time, right.
      But luckily you and I are secret superheroes. Shh. :) XX

      Reply
  4. debi riley

    excellent post, message and thoughts. love Kandinsky, haven’t read his book – I will Now. Thanks! I so agree that writing can be so useful when things aren’t running along so smoothly. I really can only paint when things are calm & smooth. But I write, driven to write, when things are a bit of a mess! I’m going to get the book, Thanks Again Allison.

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello Debi,

      Thank you so much for your gorgeous comment! I am thrilled this one hit home for you. And I am so sure you will love the book! It’s so rich for such a short read, truly. The way he speaks about the soul vibrations of color and texture and the description of the evolution of the artist’s soul as a triangle moving ever forwards and upwards – oh! It’s too good! If you have the time and / or inclination I’d really love to know your thoughts on it.

      You are so welcome – it is the absolute BEST to know this serves you well on your exciting journey. Blessings and love. :)

      Reply
  5. Peter

    As always, Alison, your words are spot on. Igniting the spark and fanning the flames of passion and creativity. Between us all, we must save the world every day!

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Pete, you brilliant wonderful gorgeous thing. I am humbled by your comment! THANK YOU so much for being here and bringing your passion and engagement. That is the greatest gift there is. And you are a straight up superhero, friend. We’ve totally got this. :)

      Reply
  6. Phil Edwards

    Hi Allison…Thanks for sharing this post with us! You are Creative Spirit. And! Words—the twirl of the swirl do whirl—the symmetry of chaos—the rock of the roll—profound-confound—sweet words— donchaknow…Wishing you days of Gentle winds—Soft curves and Wonder…Phil

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello dear Phil,

      It is my absolute honor and pleasure to share with you! I am humbled to have your gorgeous words. I love your comment so much, it literally dances through me. I love “the symmetry of chaos – the rock and roll” — you SO GET ME. :)

      And I fully accept your beautiful wishes for “Gentle winds, Soft curves, and Wonder” . . . .what an absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous thing to say. You are a bright light in my world. Thank you for reading and engaging. Means so much.

      Blessings and love,

      Allison

      Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      OH MY GOD – Samira, I cried writing it. You have such a beautiful heart and soul, sister love. Thank you endless for your presence and light in this world. So damn grateful. xx

      Reply
  7. Rajagopal

    For Kandinsky, his creations were a devotion to inner beauty, which in essence is the focal point of art. Beauty signifying the larger sense of dharma or order that sustains. If you say writing is your fire, I will ask you to keep glowing, lighting that fire, because fire is Agni, the vehicle that conveys your offering to the gods. Dostoevsky echoed the same sentiment through Myshkin stating ‘It is beauty that will save the world’. A true artist is beautiful because he or she keeps purveying beauty through his or her creation and, in so doing, refines the world, smoothening it of its wrinkles and continually moisturising it with the cream of divinity, as beauty is truth, kindness, and the manifestation of the divine itself, either as forms in the universe or expressions in art, opening up
    and broadening the horizons of human awareness, pointing us beyond ourselves, blazing a trail towards infinity. Be well and beautiful, ma cherie…xx

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      My gorgeous, gorgeous friend,
      As ever, your words warm my bones and spirit though. I feel humbled and blessed to receive your comment, dear Raj. Thank you for your wisdom and light and presence. I am head over heels for this line: “A true artist is beautiful because she keeps purveying beauty through her creation” – this reads like silk, dear one.
      And the cream of divinity – OH! So good, so perfect. So good. :)
      So much love and light to you, beautiful artist guru friend, Xx

      Reply
  8. Darshith

    Hey Allison girl, I loved the title and the content and the raw emotion and everything related to this post :) Wow! This is all I can say ;) I have been there several times when I keep on cursing and tearing my hair for the right word :D Again the 11th date is near :P How are you?

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello Darshith, sweet friend,
      I am so lifted by your gorgeous words – thank you so much for reading, for bringing your bright spirit into this space, and for engaging so fully with the post. I know you understand it in a very deep way because your creative work is full of soul and rock and roll. I am so glad this serves you well. :)
      It’s a wild ride, writing isn’t it? We the wild ones love it so.
      And you always come close around the 11th! That is such a joy to me! – – I am doing well. I am so busy and the poems keep pouring out and I’ve always got a million plans and ideas, right. How are you, friend? I hope you are bright and well and strong. I have my third tattoo appointment this weekend. She is coming along brilliantly – hope to post photos soon. I always think of you praying for not too much pain! Bless you, love. :)

      Reply
  9. Anonymous

    The absolute need for expression of creative impulses has become so important to me as I have now move into retirement (hate that word/concept). So, I very much enjoyed reading your words about this. I haven’t read the Kandinsky work (may have to look into that) but I did read a work by Lewis Hyde called “The Gift”; “Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World.” I would recommend it.

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello there,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and to leave such a gorgeous comment. I’m thrilled to bits this resonated for you – just hearing you say that is the BEST.

      The Kandinsky book I mention here is a very quick read – truly a fascinating and expansive perspective and I’d say fully worth your time no matter what your particular art genre is. He speaks a lot about color but the underlying mood and emotional connection fully cuts across all the human and spiritual senses.

      How fabulous you mention the Lewis Hyde book The Gift – I confess to having bought it a year ago and not finishing the beautiful thing. Thanks for the nudge! Also, I will check out Creativity and the Artist . . . I am always up for a great recommendation.

      Thank you for your presence here. I wish you every creative adventure along your new way and hope you’ll not be a stranger. :)

      Reply
  10. Anonymous

    This is me! You are *insert expletive* amazing! Your writing style, your humor..its all so captivating. I’m a bit peeved that I haven’t ran across your blog before, but forgiveness is on the rise on account that I no longer have to go without. You rock!

    Reply
  11. Crystal

    This is me! You are *insert expletive* amazing! Your writing style, your humor..its all so captivating. I’m a bit peeved that I haven’t ran across your blog before, but forgiveness is on the rise on account that I no longer have to go without. You rock!

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      It is so awesome to hear from you, Chrystal! I’m thrilled to bits to have your energy here. Glad to hear you won’t be a stranger. Stay fierce, babe. ❤️

      Reply

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