I often wonder if things are worth the effort.
Writing. Reading. Connecting with other people.
Life itself, at times. Part of me does connect with others, but in a very passive way.
For example, I sit here and write these words that no one reads (and maybe someday, should I reach a modicum of success) and very passively spill my guts out onto the screen.
Presumably, someday, people might connect with that.
I try to be truthful and honest, but I’m very cognizant of privacy, mine and others, and let’s face it.
We all present ourselves through a filter. We have to – it’s too easy to become disillusioned.
That guy’s screwed up. That girl’s secretly a bitch. That celebrity is actually on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
That’s why I appreciate art so much, and particularly, music and storytelling. They’re such intensely personal things that you get the truth about a creator and who they are on the inside.
And for the record, I’m not talking about the generic crime/spy fiction novelists or the pop music makers, who clearly only exist for the sake of dollar, dollar bills, y’all. I’m not even talking about the new age literary darlings, whose work is often blandly generic, but offers some inspirational words so they get touted by other literary darlings, creating a circle jerk of pretentious artists of the “clever” brand, who think they are something different but merely espouse a different type of homogeneity.
I’m talking about the gut wrenching stuff, the stuff that doesn’t need to end in happy endings or talk about how much fun we’re going to have tonight or how we’re going to get laid or rich or whatever.
I’m talking about J. O’Barr’s The Crow. I’m talking about Nirvana. I’m talking about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. I’m talking about Edgar Allen Poe’s intense screeds on depression and isolation.
The thing about how we feel is that we can rarely come at it direct. It’s often implicit in our actions, our behaviour, if you look closely, but nowhere is it more obvious than our art.
Sometimes, metaphors are easier. Sometimes, it requires the transmogrification of whatever depth of emotion we’re feeling into a chord or a lyric or a thousand page novel on the horrors or war as a symbol of the human spirit fighting against the torrents of life to try and scratch out some peace.
It can be anything. Uplifting is nice. Inspirational is great, but if it doesn’t resonate in your rib cage or your skull, it’s little more than a sugar high. It’s not sustenance.
Works of pain can be cathartic. Even if we’ve no one to talk to, we can share our pain with that of artists we’ll never meet, who may be dead a hundred years. We can empathize. We can commiserate. We can know – it’s not only me.
I’m not the only one.
And to me, that’s worth it.