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).
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.
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.
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