How to be an artist

To be a writer is to guess at things hidden. To prod and poke and tease until our truths come out. Our truths are not the truth. They are our beliefs, sometimes our lies, our little dramas in the unabsorbed spectacle of the universe. Writers’ block is really just a barrier we put up to keep from painting an accurate self-portrait of ourselves and our race. From descending into the unresolved, creeping overgrowth of the intimately self-aware.

It is the canary that sounds when mines are probed too deeplyas our lungs desperately exhale and choke on the fumes of the demons we all carry. To be a great writer is to ignore the call of the canary and plunge further into the abyss. To Fall with open eyes into our ghosts and Hydes and chained memories. To view the panoply of humanity in all its overripe savagery without the delusion of social constructs.

Those who are Fallen go where the rest of us are afraid to go. Most of us are unwilling to see the glorious ills, blinding injustices, eleventh-hour births of hope, and faithful destructions that pepper everyday life. Pleading ignorance, we prefer to activate our spam blockers, guarding against any such serpents in our well-manicured Gardens of Eden.

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Why are Da Vinci, Michelangelo, James Dean and their peers revered above all others? Their work transcends boundaries of color and race and religion and language. It is because of the Fall.

The rest of us are grasping at the chaos of our core, trying to tame it into symbols & pictures & summer blockbusters. To capture it within cages so that it can be assessed and analyzed. We live in a world of titles, a world where we’re constantly asked to label ourselves. What a perverse mockery of identity.

Why do we need to build bars around something before we can understand it? Why are we so afraid to Fall? To claim those terrifying caves and unending jungles inside our skins? Instead, we hunt and erase any such unacceptable blemishes until we can pass for functioning members of society.

It is time to love ourselves and heal our society, damages and all. To all those in the Nomad Generation and beyond, I think I may finally get it. In order to Rise, we first have to Fall.

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