9/18/08

Just a little art, that's all.

I already wrote this once and it hurt and then it didn't publish right so I have to do it again. The title had a story I kept on the first try but it's not worth retelling. I'm keeping the title though.

While watching the video in seminar, I saw myself in that romantic kid with the hat and white spots on his front teeth. He said, "Writing has to feel a little bit romantic; it's feeling love. It's not about making cash or getting a grade, it's for yourself." (It might have been a different kid who said that last part.) Sister Morgan then asked us who we identified with, and the air around my temples became hot and humid. I began to blink faster and roll my lips into my mouth. A light tremble shook my hand from the inside. Looking around me, Ivor and Stephanie and Brittany's faces pointed forward at Sis. Morgan and not at me. I rubbed the tip of my thumb and the crease of my fingertip together; both were wet. Fear.

Sister Morgan stopped talking. A sense of honesty swelled up in me and I half raised my hand. "I really related to the romantic guy at the end with the hat and sideburns and really white teeth. I just see writing as an art... and... it's like I'm not a painter or anything but I can create something by writing like he said about the sunset thing... and... yeah." The thought, long felt and embraced, attempted to poorly articulate itself for the first time.

"We'll come back to your comment in a minute," she said. I felt my soul’s clothing ripping from underneath my skin. Vulnerability and fear, honesty and exposition revealing itself. Emotions, giant, hiding behind my eyes and being pulled from their hiding place. It holds on by the fingertips as its arms are stretched and slowly slipping free into the naked open, like a child being pulled from a swingset.

I don't know why I was afraid. Why would I not want to finally expose the artistic nature I keep quiet and secret, more intimate than anything else about me? I trust these people as much or more than I have ever trusted anyone and I even define myself as an artist. Still, I recognized the new fear of complete and absolute exposure of my most private self and it held me painfully tight in a strong, balled-up fist.

When Sis. Morgan ended seminar, I sweat a breath of relief and composed myself. I do not remember when I shook like that, deep to my soul and farther than I thought possible. I do know, though, that an honest force pulled at that self to rip it into sight; it failed, but a time comes soon when I'll gather the courage to completely be free of the fear of violating expectation. 

I have been seen by no man.

7 comments:

Sky said...

Or woman?
If I ever say "We'll get back to that comment" (and then when I don't because of my mush-mind, it's more than frustrating for me), it usually means "You have just hit at the core of what I'm trying to teach;let me get this peripheral stuff out of the way, so we can spend the rest of eternity on that point you just brought up." In this case, you hit the core. Writing is a supreme art form, and when it's good, it has the power to affect for good or bad any who can read--to elevate, to bring us into the realm of the Creator. I know this. Would that I could spend my life teaching only THIS. I believe in this art (or I'd be spending my life's moments in another arena). And I'm not talking about "to persuade, inform, or entertain." That "rhetorical" trivial definition of writing that you glean from your composition theory books is a low description of good writing. It's drivel. How does that explain why I couldn't move after the ending of Grapes of Wrath, how I experienced deep feelings of repentance, mercy, and, yes, justice on someone else's behalf in Crime and Punishment? How walking through wheat fields is never the same after reading My Antonia? How does the gray ash landscape in The Road stay with me and align itself with my uneasy expectations of the future? Art moves, effects, changes us--forever. Etc.Etc.Etc.

What baffles me is your strong reaction and aversion to some kind of judgment you expected about sharing your feelings? Worthy of your next essay, I'd say. Remember Baldwin's comment that "Good writing always verges on the edge of embarrassing us." You dive in when you write well; you don't get just your toe wet.
I don't understand you. Let us understand?

Sky said...

OK, I'm lost. Can someone explain this to me?

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

I think you touched right on the issue and how I feel about writing as an art. I'm not sure why there was such a strong aversion to admitting this, but there was. It's something I haven't been able to put into words yet.

Sarachel said...

"It's something I haven't been able to put into words yet." I like that. I feel that way sometimes.

iBo said...

Maybe you feel naked and somehow not "matt-like" if you admit to those feelings in front of everyone. Well, I guess you already have admitted it to everyone here. How do you feel? naked?

oh heres my blog:

http://www.acleanescape.blogspot.com

Sky said...

Ivor, that doesn't make any sense. Why would he feel exposed by admitting he thinks writing is an art form? I think this deserves an essay from him. "Is a puzzle." Or was it because I didn't respond to him in the moment. ??

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

actually, ivor is pretty right on that. I think it's an image thing. My like seems to revolve around images and playing roles and the like. This is a good essay topic to use, once the one about my dad and the f word is done.