I’m not sure if I should even be writing today.
All day I have been unable to focus on anything for more than a few minutes at a time. Peck, peck, neck swivel, peck, check email, peck peck, think about painting, peck peck, add up some numbers, peck peck, peck peck peck.
Ever done that? If you haven’t, what’s your damn secret?
This is one of the most destructive things that my brain does. It wastes time even while scurrying about in search of more time.
I am again just avoiding what is hard.
I read a piece today quoting Ice Cube on art: “If it’s not hard it’s soft.”
The author explains,
If you can’t BLEED or KILL or SLASH YOUR GUTS with your word, then keep it to yourself. If you can’t take it to the edge, then you played it to safe. … If it’s not so hot you feel like it brands you, then it’s cold and you’re nothing.
Ouch. But, yes.
I think about hard art often when I view art exhibits in community galleries. Almost every piece is safe. Soft. Inoffensive. Striving to be lovely and loved.
I don’t think Ice Cube would consider any of it art. A painting of flowers or a peaceful landscape is, often, just a pretty picture.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Again the avoidance.
Do I really have the courage to be hard every day? To take it to an edge where I bleed?
Not with my writing.
In my long career in journalism, writing has not been a way to expose the most personal parts of me. Writing is a way for me to think, and explain.
What’s hard is to convey a vision so compellingly that it smacks people upside the head. That’s where I want to go with art.
I tried to do that with my macro photography – shift the perspective on common objects, weeds, metal, dry ice.
I did an exhibit with larger-than-life portraits on satin and tried to take people inside Afghanistan so that they weren’t afraid of Afghans.
Sometimes people tell me my photos affected how they see the world. I want to just die right then because I know my art won’t be any better than that, ever.
Merely bleeding onto the page isn’t going to work. Been there, done that, a thousand writers. We’ve seen their suffering and it’s not that interesting any more.
But what if I could paint my craziness of thought, put onto a screen what dances in my head … things that are so open and untethered that they scare me … It would be hard. It would be hot as molten metal on skin.
And that’s probably why I feel scattered. I am getting closer to the branding iron. I see it, I walk up to it. But I can’t yet pick it up.
Peck. Peck. Peck. Peck. Peck.
Today’s penny is a 2015. Because this year, I’m trying.