Friday, December 30, 2011

The Meaning of Life


Now that I’ve got your attention—without even using the word sex—I just want to let everyone know about the garage sale I have coming up. Ha ha! Just kidding.

I woke up this morning with a sentence in my head and within the next ten minutes, the rest came tumbling out. I’ve learned to trust these things that appear out of the blue and follow them and that’s probably the number one job description of the artist. I suspect we all are visited occasionally by inspired phrases, images, ideas, melodies, what have you, but most of us are too busy arranging carpools for the kids to pay them the attention they deserve. It’s a short window before they get impatient and give up on us and are blown away to the winds like seeds in search of someone else’s socks. 

The artist is one who makes a deal with the Muse, first to arrange life to be receptive and open to the visit and second, to commit to hosting the visitation, feeding it and seeing it through until it has said what it came to say. And then when it leaves, a great deal of time spent shaping and re-shaping its message, refining, editing, re-arranging until everything tumbles into place.

And still not done. Then comes yet more work to get it out into the world so that it becomes more than a personal visit, has the possibility of touching others in a more finished, polished and palatable form. That requires the conversations with the club owners, galleries, publishers, etc., the business side of divine inspiration. Difficult and sometimes distasteful, but part of the deal you make to show how committed and serious you are. All with no guarantee that anybody cares to hear or see it, the possibility that even if your work does get out there, it doesn’t connect. Or maybe worse, it connects because of slick marketing and packaging, has its 15 seconds of fame and is soon forgotten.

Maybe it’s easier to just arrange carpools for the kids. More concrete and immediately satisfying.  But with my kids out of the house, I have no more excuses. So with that preamble, here is this morning’s poem, the meaning of life as it revealed itself to me on a Friday morning, ready for its 15 seconds of glory.

The Meaning of Life

Here we are until we’re not.
Each of us just one small dot.
Each of us born through a mother,
All but that small dot an other.
How to make of each a friend,
When to stand out, when to blend.
To know, to show, just why our birth,
Before we crumble back to earth.

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