Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Making Art | A Reflection on Writing | Using Your Brokenness to Break Boundaries |

A piece concerning the acceptance of my own shortcomings.

My earliest memory of reading is written into my mind in greens and blues.

Blue, sky. Green, the enormous bough of a tree in the middle of my primary school. Green, again, the bench I sat on somewhere between the ages of 6-9 (so let's say eight).

I was reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire, and I remember pausing to close the book. I remember needing to stop, to process, what story did to me. It was so incredible, so something else. Whole worlds built using nothing but the sentences and imagery of a single mother living in England, and my mind's interpretation of these things. Then you close the book, the world disappears.

And then, the realisation:

'It's just...words.' I remember thinking.
And something snapped. After that, I felt like many of the barriers between myself and all humans, especially those we place on a pedestal, like Nietszche, and Kerouac, like Woolf and Van Gogh, those we believe are/were 'great' had been broken for me.

It's just words.

And I realised, 'I want to do this. I could do this too.'

I have this note (it's just words!), thought, idea, littered throughout my bedroom on post-it notes, in journal entries.

There's a philosopher (and I can't remember who) who once suggested that if we all spent less time looking at, or comparing ourselves to the 'great thinkers' of history, we would discover that we are all the great thinkers of history - that there's no comparison, that we are all capable of 'great', inspiring and wonderful thought. We would, with the death of comparison, realise just how similar we all are, that none of us are genius unless all of us are

I remember reading passages from Nietzsche's essays in the living room of my old share-house, having discussions with friends and housemates, and turning the page of what I was reading to find - over a hundred years old - the same words, in a book nobody else in the room had read, but come to the reasoning organically.

Here they were, people making words breathe the way Anais Nin had always wanted them to. Those things are not exclusive to that room, they are in you too. All humans.

You are not your brain, but the mind seems to create thought - Jung's collective unconscious - to direct it - in terms of the human condition - to what we all know is true, in that it is shared, these great ideas, conclusions to which we all come together, but often are afraid to speak because we fear the sharing will reflect what we consider 'broken'.

Often we are to afraid to use the darkness, or the questions, or the honest - 'I do not know if I am right' to connect, yet it's the only way we can connect.

So, even as a child I wanted to use writing as a tool to connect, to use that fear - or rather, fear of fear (another lesson learned quickly from J.K Rowling), fear that we couldn't do it, that it won't work, - to connect.

All writing and reading is to me, all it has taught me, is that it is a reflection of the human psyche - that we are all the same. That other people feel this too, yet we place ourselves in the liminal space - unwilling to share the parts of ourselves that do hurt us. Perhaps because we split off from them, deny them, try to outgrow them, rather than explore them.

Art should not be used to build the honest artist up, but tear them open - to the raw, bone, gristle, the most open and - the most feared way to be, but the way we all want to be. Reflecting upon all the leaps, but more-so all the shortcomings . This is why writing about all of my own shortcomings - every part of myself that I find too much, has become such a theme for me, because I know it is a shared feeling. The honest artist is unafraid to explore and make open the darkest parts of their mind - or perhaps they are afraid, but courageous enough to admit to these things.

I personally know I cannot make art (and when I say 'art' I mean writing) that does not show the most broken and frightened parts of my own brain - how can I not use art to record a reflection of at least part of my own psyche?

Though I cannot often find a way to make my writing, my philosophy correlate to my physical reality. Possibly because there is so much in my unconscious that I have yet to discover - and how it affects me as a person. There is so much I can't connect with because I'm yet to connect it to myself.

To be inside the place of story is where the boundaries are broken, because it is the place in which we are allowed into the mind of another person.

All minds are stories. Growing, ever growing, ever editing, re-writing and changing. We are our own greatest works of art, our medium to work with being whatever is thrown at us - in this phenomena of being - whatever we choose to do with it.


“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”  
- Carl Gustav Jung