One of the accusations I most treasure is this one: "You are arrogant!"
Because usually, it means one has spoken sense.
All my life, I have admired The Greats. Why? Because they did not fancy themselves special in any way. They did not focus on the future acclaim they would (but had not yet) earned. For the most part, those writers, thinkers, philosophers, and artists who most completely changed the scope and depth of reality as we know it...did so out of the simple need to record all that echoed in and around them. And it is they I hope to in some way emulate.
Anyone can write or paint. Anyone can act, sing, dance, construct and design. Many will make a great deal of money from it for no other reason than that they are willing to do whatever it takes, whatever is asked of them in order to attain notoriety or commercial success. Perhaps that is enough for them. Maybe that should be enough for anyone.
Yet, I want more.
For myself and those who have true talent, I hunger for more.
In every discipline, in every area of life, there are those who have some fire burning within them--something far beyond themselves--which demands to be stoked, often whether they like it or not. For some, it is as simple as the drive to build sleek, functional structures that, although not flamboyant, will stand the ages. For others, the need to create from cloth and patterns the shapes and forms which will define an era can and will never be sated. I suppose, for many of us out there, we were born with some tiny, snarling demon inside determined to be set free. And those who do not have it do not understand its demands.
That, strangely enough, has never bothered me.
I would rather be the woman who never reaches that moment in life in which she feels worthy to call herself a writer than those who add to the thousands of worthless volumes which clutter the libraries.
Maybe I will never be A Writer.
Yes, my written words fill the pages of many a thesis and dissertation by academic powerhouses who lacked the love for or even the interest in the written word necessary to bring their ideas to life. And, maybe that should mean something to me. Perhaps it would mean a great deal to others.
But in my mind.
I will not be a writer until I have penned that which no one else could have conceived or written. Do I have it in me to achieve the goal? I would like to think so. One would like to think that her own insistent demon exists for that very purpose. Further, I would like to believe that had I not been somehow gifted with the capacity to reach that objective, the little devil never would have been entrusted to me in the first place. The truth of the matter is, even if I do somehow manage to take all that I am, all that I have learned, all that I am capable of being and somehow weave from those elements the one great work of a lifetime, I would probably not recognize it for what it truly was, even if it jumped up and bit me on the butt.
For me, it is just enough to know that the mere possibility exists, just as it has for others before me, for others who will live long after I am forgotten, and even a few magnificent souls who have wondered onto my pathway just long enough for me to play a small part in helping them accomplish what I have not--possibly will not.
If that constitutes arrogance,
"'Play on Macbreath'"!
Keep writing ya"ll!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Not the past--
Fades to black
That can be distinguished
Are the faintly-moving
Which in a life
Not the past--
Fades to black
That can be distinguished
Are the faintly-moving
Which in a life
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
What was it first I saw
In those clear blue waters
Of your hastily clothed
Perhaps the wayfarer in me,
Seeking the refreshment of an unpolluted soul,
Gazed into the verbal liquidity
Which served, at that time, as your eyes
And imagined concatenation.
Those smoothly rippling lies.
Oh, how they pleased, tingled...
Deceived both mind and tongue
As the cool dancing circles burst
Into the sweet, smoky flavor of remembered trust!
How completely thirsts for acceptance,
Roaming Loneliness's desert,
Directionless...in search of friendship.
I drank and thought I saw
Mirrored in that instant
Before I gulped you in
My own bewildered face
Staring up at me in wonder.
Now in the aftermath, my spirit recovering
From the bitter toxins of delusion,
My mind escaping a dense fog,
The heaviness of comprehension
Settles in around me,
And I see no beauty,
Taste no lingering ambrosial joy
But am left with dizzying self- recrimination,
My heart and mind spinning
Into the dark, sucking abyss
Thy name was Sunshine.
*All materials (including photographs, original written works, printed commentaries, etc.) herein contained are (unless expressly noted to the contrary) the property of Chanctetinyea J.J. Ouellette (and/or "Chance & Opportunity"). As such, they are not to be to any degree or in any form copied, reprinted, by any means duplicated and/or privately used or distributed without her express permission. All rights reserved.
Human beings truly discourage me...
What is it about human nature that compels men and women to gravitate--in their thoughts, attitudes, and actions--towards the worst in one another? Many would grasp hold of the obvious answer: control. To believe that the hunger for some sense of control over one's destiny, of the power to orchestrate, even manipulate, the lives of is, however, far to convenient, as is the tendency to attribute human failings to helplessness or fear.
No, I fervently believe human beings celebrate the worst of themselves for no other reason than it is, at least at present, easier and less time-consuming than nurturing the best they might have to offer. Let's face it: if reaching and maintaining the pinnacle of personal excellence were the current societal norm, if to be found lacking in compassion, kindness, generosity, patience, integrity, and love guaranteed the instant stigma of "social taboo," how many of us would run to the local therapist, psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, or counselor confident that our lists of excuses, justifications, and qualifications would invariably be rewarded with a "Get Out of Being Human Free" card?
Sometimes, as a am taking my morning walk, contemplating the seamless continuity of the past, present, and future inherent in all existence, I find myself profoundly saddened by the juxtaposition of what we as human creatures were meant to be...and what we allow ourselves to be. Such vast potential for living and loving, for learning and gaining wisdom lies lost upon the ever growing mound of injustice and discontent comprised of the detritus of the daily acts of selfishness committed in the name of survival! Just what would it take to detoxify human nature? To cleanse it of the addiction to easy lies as opposed to hard truths, the habit of clinging to all the reasons it is acceptable to be less than we should rather than fueling ourselves to step out, to reach out, stimulated by the images of the best we each--and all--might be? And when will we stop hiding behind the delusion that the past, present, and future endure as separate--almost disconnected--entities rather than a continuity of collective and individual actuality-- circles upon circles of ever-expanding reality (building upon one another as do the rippling patterns of disturbance upon before-stilled waters), of cause and effect, of action turning onto itself to become equal and opposite reaction--which, defined by the choices we make, either limit or expand into limitlessness all that is brightest, boldest, most brilliant and most beautiful in not only human behavior...
But Human Beings?
Monday, March 8, 2010
Why is it that every mindless, spineless pusillanimous object capable of grasping hold of a pen or pencil deems itself a writer?
People might practice hour upon diligent hour at the piano for untold decades yet dare not deem themselves "pianists." No matter how many years of vocal coaching the aspiring soprano spends toiling to perfect her craft, she is not considered a "singer" until she can sing the song well. A mother who lovingly places a band-aid upon the abraded knee of a child does not think herself a doctor, no matter how miraculously she transforms tears to giggles...nor does the father who waltzes his daughter across the floor, her iny feet balanced upon his, declare himself a dancer, even if each step is perfectly synchronized.
Why is it, then, that everyone who keeps a journal or scribbles thoughts on paper announces to the world that he or she is a great artiste, ready at any moment to challenge poor Willie for his title of "The Bard"? Could it be that most people do not understand what "writing" truly is? Because they see so many volumes (most of questionable quality)by so many different authors lining so many shelves, others assume that anyone capable of thinking up a halfway decent metaphor has talent?
I think that the deception lies in the seamless lyrical uniformity that pulses the vibrant cadence of harmonized theme, place, personalities, and poesy of a truly great work. Like every talented artist, the true writer makes it all seem so easy. The hours, the years spend perfecting the craft (Maybe one day, I'll get there, huh!?) Take place behind closed doors, in secret, quiet corners, or in the odd oasis of color and sound tucked away in some hidden alcove of nature. Few really see the work that takes place or comprehend the slowly smoldering passion to create which fuels a writer on and on and on, even when she fervently prays for the ability to just walk away and be done with it.
For so many of us poor, unfortunate souls, to write is not a choice: it is an irrefutable facet of our underlying quintessence. To not write is to hold one's breath. There is only so long one can do so before instinct, nature, that person's general makeup forces him or her to inhale; and so it is with those who were "born" writers.
So many people just don't understand that.
What set off today's tirade?
A blog, of course.
An associate of mine has written two young adult books while completing at least one other novel and a screenplay. Though best known in the entertainment industry, he is (after many decades) publishing his first work. Does this bother me? No. Albeit he and I have parted company (repeatedly) on acrimonious (at least, on my part!) terms, the pieces themselves are viable works, unique in their vividly conceived settings and gripping senses of "place." Besides, even he does not pretend to be The Great Literary Find. He has always presented himself as a person who enjoys writing and has several interesting stories to tell: not the next Dickens.
The participants in his blog, however, are quite a different matter. I have read, cringing in horror, the attempts to outshine one another in hackneyed, grammatically and syntactically abhorrent prose. Each one is working on that novel. Offerings my fifteen-year-old would be mortified to turn in as rough drafts in an English class are presented with great relish and to the immediate cacophony of praise lavished by counterparts (usually fellow poetasters) grateful for the excuse to submit equally horrific casualties of the pen in kind. (Am I a literary snob? Heck yes! You should hear what I call my own "stuff," ya'll!) And, as always, part of me is fascinated.
Who told these poor, misguided fools they could write?
There are writers and there are storytellers. Not all talented writers are necessarily adept at the art of storytelling; and not all good storytellers are capable of quality writing. Still, there is a place for each; moreover, I think each can retain a degree of respect for the other.
But the screwed-up scribblings I encountered today?
They'll all be available at Amazon before long!
Keep writing ya'll!