Friday, April 13, 2012


So long as that strange sad cry rings out over the world, the birth pangs of an artist - all cannot be lost.

Lawrence Durrell
Hello Jon
I went to the market yesterday to get a few things. As I was leaving I passed a display of wind chimes. I stopped to try them out, There was one very fancy one made of shells, another of little bells, some traditional metal strips and pipes, and some wooden tubes. I tested them all out, listening to each of them ring and tinkle.

As I did that I noted that I was not listening for the prettiest sounding one or the one that would be most pleasing for my neighbors. I was listening for the sound that I thought best described my own character and personality as an artist. As it turned out I didn't buy one. I was on my crutches with several other items to maneuver. But I vowed to go back today or tomorrow a get one of the wooden ones, with a gentle, natural sound.

Most people would probably not think of it that way. But the world of an artist is an immediate one. As I write this I'm hearing a symphony by Franz Joseph Haydn. That music was composed in the 18th Century. The reason it is still relevant today is because the composer wasn't trying to mimic anyone. He wrote originally and immediately. He took the risk, based on his knowledge and experience as a master artist to say something new, fresh and prophetic. We thank him by still playing and listening to these creations from the true and trusted heart of that original man.

To be a serious artist is not always a joyous experience. It's an obligation. It has uncertainty and anguish built in to the process. There is great sadness over lost and discarded ideas. There is the intense struggle against an empty mind, a vanished imagination., temporary madness There is throwing yourself into the work when it is the last thing you feel you can do (every performing artist know that feeling). And, yes, there are regrets.

Every work of art has a conception, a gestation and a birth. Sometimes it's painless. Often it is not. But when it happens it is, like the birth of a human being, a reaffirmation of life. There are many forces in this world that would silence the artists, make them conform to rigid recidivism and codes of complacent inanity. The struggle is always against neglect, starvation, financial and spiritual, and ignorant disrespect and disregard. We are society's orphans.

So why would anyone be an artist? Because today's artist is the guardian of the world.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up


Jon said...

Being an artist is both a blessing and a curse, but most of all it's a necessity. True artists never abandon their calling, no matter what obstacles get in the way.
Being an artist is also inherent - it's not something that one can aquire.

Dana, your wisdom is always so clear. My words inevitably come out muddled.
I have some wind chimes - metal pipes. They work overtime here in West Texas!

pacifica62 said...

Bamboo wind chimes sound very natural and are much more "neighbour friendly"

Ken Riches said...

Love the wood chimes.

Beth said...

I agree with Jon...for most creative people, being so is a necessity. They really can't be any other way.

My favorites are also the wooden ones. I find the sound very soothing and pleasing. I never really thought about why...maybe because, as you said, they sound more natural.

Beth said...

Oh, and I'm reading The Alexandria Quartet by Durrell right now. I'm on the last book. Some of the most beautiful writing I've ever encountered.