April 3rd, 2019
“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.” – James Baldwin
Since the anniversary of Them and Us on Monday, I’ve been rereading my work. There are many themes throughout the two books, but the one big theme that the entire story is about is the idea of control. People who are in it, people who want it, people who are controlled and people who have lost it.
The theme isn’t groundbreaking, but as I’m walking through this world again, it’s the context of the piece that makes it shine a whole lot brighter for me now.
See, five or six years ago, when I wrote these words, I was very much a terrified person who was out of control. And the only way I knew how to deal with it was through art. I couldn’t face my reality, so I used my words to try to make sense of the displacement and fear and the shame I was always feeling; to put my finger on the lack of control that gave me horrible anxiety and amplified every bad feeling and thought that I couldn’t turn off.
Art was the only thing that worked in a positive way in my life at the time.
So among the errors and marks and mistakes and the words of a lesser writer are grand ideas and even grander emotions, rooted in a really real truth for me and my soul. It’s less embarassing, and more flawed, and flawed for me now is good and important.
Art is important.
So in a way, these books helped me on a road that saved my life.
And one of my best accomplishments as a writer was coming up with an ending that is either extremely cynical or positively optimistic, depending on your outlook. It could even be both, like it was in my mind.
Anyway, this is just a reminder that everyone has something to say, and what you say is important — if not for anyone else, it’s important for you. Your ideas and thoughts and feelings are art and it’s up to you to put that paint on canvas. Because someone is waiting to hear it.