Saturday, June 23, 2007

whence art?

Matisse

are artists born? made? thrust upon their craft? are artists, by definition and serotonin levels, necessarily mad? (or only when they work for free?)

where does art, that most mysterious of magics, come from?

poet Mary Oliver has this to say:

After Arguing Against The Contention That Art Must Come From Discontent

Whispering to each handhold, "I'll be back,"
I go up the cliff in the dark. One place
I loosen a rock and listen a long time
till it hits, faint in the gulf, but the rush
of the torrent almost drowns it out, and the wind --
I almost forgot the wind: it tears at your side
or it waits and then buffets; you sag outward...

I remember they said it would be hard. I scramble
by luck into a little pocket out of
the wind and begin to beat on the stones
with my scratched numb hands, rocking back and forth
in silent laughter there in the dark--
"Made it again!" Oh how I love this climb!
-- the whispering to the stones, the drag, the weight
as your muscles crack and ease on, working
right. They are back there, discontent,
waiting to be driven forth. I pound
on the earth, riding the earth past the stars:
"Made it again! Made it again!"

Mary Oliver

3 comments:

bevjackson said...

I love this, and utterly agree!!

Your blog looks great!!! The art is terrific!

Maryanne Stahl said...

thanks, bev. and everyone who has stopped by. this has turned out to be fun (as I was worried it would. ;-) )

Martin Heavisides said...

I'm inclined to think some discontent is connected to all art, as it is to all experience. Maybe the experience of satori transcends content and discontent both, but they seem intermingled in most ordinary and even extraordinary experience. If I've written well on a subject, I generally feel an internal balance, and that's irrespective of whether I'm writing about pleasant or extremely unpleasant matters. A nightmare has greater odds of discomposing us if we flee from understanding it. I think mary oliver's write (if I understand her correctly): the satisfaction of art is in the difficulties you wrestle with successfully (or I suppose I should say with comparative success).