Lost Confessions: Art

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I read Artist’s blog last night and it really hit home to me. It was written in response to “Purpose” a blog written by Guardian many moons ago. I read it a few times and then it started to become familiar to me. As if I had read it before. I checked with Informer and found out it was an entry in a journal Artist had written years and years ago.

He had written it for Guardian back then. I keep those journals in a filing cabinet behind my desk chair and there they have sat since I started typing on computer. It was about four years ago I think when I started writing my first book Chaste. That is when I started typing instead of writing with pen, and that is when I started writing for consumption. Now when I write, I mean for others to read it, but back then I wrote because I had to.

Writing was something Artist needed. And he would do it very slowly. There was a ritual to it. We would go to a public place, usually a restaurant, most times Pizza Hut, and we would sit in the back room and get something to eat. The entire time we would be watching other people or talking to the people working there, our coworkers. It was obvious we were there to work, but most of what got done was socializing. Then the people we were watching would just fade away. Or the person we were talking to would blend into the background. Then it would all come back to us, the eating, the drinking of Dr. Pepper and the socializing. We would be in the middle of it all again. And a little bit of writing would have taken place in the blank zone.

We would read what we wrote and be amazed by it, because it seemed to have happened by itself. We would immediately read it to whoever was around. Then we would go back to talking and watching. Writing took time. To get a story finished we would have to sit and work on it for hours and hours because it came in little bursts. And between these stories would be things like poems or character descriptions, quotes, or little drawings.

Now when we write it is very commercial. We write for a certain amount of time, usually two thousand words. We listen to pre-made playlists and we do it at night when no one is around. But it is for other people to read. It is meant to be consumed by the common person, not those few we choose to read it to.

What we get is a blend writing. Usually Artist, Informer, and me, sometimes Shadow. We never get purer than that though. Artist for the creativity of it, Informer for the typing and the consumer, me for the balls to actually put it out there. We never get pure Artist. Never. Not anymore anyway. Now it is always blended down and made mortal by our hands.

These journals though, they are pure Artist. Solid and pure, undiluted and straight art. There is a fever to them that cannot be denied. There is a heartbeat in them that is missing from the work I am doing now. It is like he was writing at a run. It sounds like he is panting. I read this one thing about rain in the desert and was just amazed at how pure it was. It had all kinds of problems and I would never show it to anyone but it was so raw and emotional, it was like the writing itself was weeping with the soothing rain.

There are 13 of these journals. Some just have a few things written in them, some are full back and front. They have other things in them, too. One has a comment card for Pizza Hut taped to the inside of one of the sheets covering up what was written there. There are band aids covering the back of one of them.

I am scared of them. I don’t know why. I am scared of what I will find in there. After finding Guardian’s “Pawn” written in one of them, I’m afraid to see what he wrote for the rest of us. They are so primal, so violently artistic that they seem dangerous to the way I write now. Will they change the way I write back to something less commercial? Will I revert to writing something that will never sell? Or can I find a middle ground, somewhere between what I am writing now and what I did back then? Can I put more Artist in without giving in to him altogether?

He writes like a witch doctor. It is all feeling and ritual, there is no discipline to it. No final goal in mind. He doesn’t care if other people can read it or not. He is so pure. So strong.

I don’t know what to do. Tell me what to do.

—Shade, 2007

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