I wanted to take a moment to spotlight a very special type of misfit today. In no uncertain terms will you find a soul more misunderstood, misrepresented, mistaken, and often — miserable, than you will the Artist. Why is that you say? Why would a collection of people tasked with bringing beauty into the world be shunned and scored en masse? Why don’t you enter the boudoir and we’ll have a little tete a tete about the issue. Come no…Jack won’t bite (much).
What makes an artist different?
This is a question many have asked me over the years. It’s not such an easy question to answer. Oh sure, it’s possible to take the easy way out and say “An artist is one who makes art.”
Artists don’t just make art — they live it. They become it, they dream it, they eat, sleep, and drink it. Prior to the process of creation, the only thing the artist can do is think about what they are going to create. During the process of creation, the only thing they can think of is what they are creating. And once the creation is complete, the only thing the artist can think about is what they did right or wrong.
Artists, often live in their own worlds and those worlds are almost always worlds the non-artist can’t even remotely comprehend, touch…believe.
That belief is a powerful, powerful issue that often puts a rift between souls. The dreamer dreams and the realist refutes. When the realist shoots down the dreams of an artist, the artist whithers a bit. But the artist cannot NOT dream. The dream is a powerful muse to the artist. It gives us inspiration, life, energy, and the hope that some day our work will be celebrated.
We must dream or we will not exist. We must live in lives unknown or we will not create.
Everyone has an artist in their lives. They tend to be the outcasts, the wayward souls, the ones normal society assumes will eventually wake up and join the real world.
Let me lay the cut straight for you here and now.
Square peg, round hole.
Hell, artists aren’t even Square Pegs — we’re mot like an amorphous peg that refuses to be categorized into a singular shape, size, or color. We are chameleons who shape-shift ourselves and the world around us to make everything beautiful. We are not Borg, we will not be assimilated.
This is a tough rub for the shirttucking nation who assumes every single member of the Human Collective wants to be part of the machine.
We don’t. We aren’t. We won’t.
What happen when the artist doesn’t create?
This is a simpler question to answer. We die inside. The artistic soul is one of the most powerful forces you will ever encounter. It not only longs for creation, it must have creation to thrive and survive. The artistic soul must be fed. It’s food? The creation of art, of wonder, of magic, of beauty.
Personally I have been in situations where my artistic soul has been starved. At first it’s not that bad, but over time it robs me of who I am which leads to a corruption of my heart and a dissipation of my will. When people ask me why I write, the answer is quite simple: If I don’t, I die inside.
Live in reality
Had the likes of Stephen King or JK Rowling lived in the so-called reality (the one everybody raves so much about), we wouldn’t have The Stand, The Shining, Carrie, Needful Things…Harry Potter. They both struggled to gain any form of acceptance, even to the tune of living impoverished lives where heat in the winter was nothing more than a luxury that couldn’t be afforded.
And let’s go back to the likes of Mozart. One of the single most brilliant composers the world has EVER known lived in poverty because he had no choice but to listen to his muse. He died with nothing, buried in a beggars grave. His music will last eternally as the most beautiful pieces ever created. He was a genius, a true artist. What would the world be like had Mozart denied his dreams?
How to cope?
This is a question that poses the most challenge to anyone of either the artistic or non-artistic inclination. For those suffering the artistic soul, how do you suffer through the disparaging comments, the lack of acceptance, the hopelessness? You dream. You place yourself in positive, artistic-centric, communities where your passion is shared, celebrated, and cherished. For those without the soul of an artist, how do you suffer through the doubt, the loneliness, the withdrawal? You support. You ensure your artist knows you believe in them and their goals. You set aside realism when realism will only serve to puff up your own personal reality. You hold, you support, you love, you cherish, your praise, and you offer up any possible help you can.
Being an artist is not an easy road to travel. It’s lonely, it’s frightening, it’s painful, it’s dark, and it’s often met with roadblock after roadblock put in place by a society that simply doesn’t “get you”. Well, the good news is, there are other artists out there that do get you. They love you and they fully understand your plight.
Artists are misfits to the core. Their very lives are wrapped around the soul of a misfit and the blood that courses through their veins is pumped by the heart of a misfit. But ultimately, we are human too. And we are special. We bring to those without the artistic soul a beauty the world could not live without. And to us, art is truth and without that truth we would cease to exist.