Anybody who has ever got into a conversation about music, or writing, or any kind of art with me will know that I find great importance in finding the good in it.
Not necessarily in the quality, but more in the message.
I appreciate art in all forms very much, especially when I can connect with it. Though I love meaningless music that was made purely because the tune just makes people smile, my favourite genre is soul and I love it when there’s huge meaning and sentiment there. It’s easy to find the good in it when the intention of the art was to find the good in bad, (for example- Nina Simone/ aint got no) but when the art was written because the artist didn’t know what else to do but just get their thoughts out, the product can be very easy to connect with despite there being no positive element written in the song. For example, most of Amy Winehouse’s back to black album.
When listening to these people’s music I always appreciate the way that they just cracked their hearts open like a gooey egg and let all the shit just flow. Even if they have nothing positive to say, because they just want to feel that release, they have opened up and been vulnerable. Vulnerability is extremely brave and admirable, so even if the artist didn’t intend to create, they just have. By the time they’ve somewhat made sense of their feelings, they made something out of it. They literally took something that they couldn’t live with or hold in anymore and they transformed it into something which can be admired, appreciated, connected with, and can get them further than say where they are crying and moping.
When you’re a consumer, being able to appreciate this takes it from being mopey to being beautiful. In my opinion, art should never be an excuse to wallow, but rather an opportunity to connect, inspire and to appreciate.
When you are the artist, separating your art from you is a separate challenge.
When I am sad, I write blogs to get me out of the sadness. This is easier to disconnect myself from because when it’s done, I’m through it. I am not the same person after writing a post as I was when I began, because I’ve figured it out in the 10-20 minutes I spent writing.
I’ve always written poetry. This is a harder thing to separate yourself from.
I wasn’t gifted with the ability to pull myself out of all situations immediately, I am still human. There are things that have happened to me that cut deep and I buried and I can only really deal with it by going back into the past, bringing it up again and then dealing with it (often against my own will). Things that cut the deepest, you’re often most unaware of. You’ll be fine, and then out of nowhere someone will say something that will just send you into a pit of sadness, because you remember something that you haven’t yet dealt with. There are some things that hurt you so deep in the past that recovering it and trying to solve it is more difficult. But more difficult doesn’t mean impossible.
Here is where the poetry comes in.
If I’m gonna feel this deeply, I need to get it out. I can’t force myself to be positive when I can’t see the light, so sometimes you just have to let yourself sink and trust that once you’re at rock bottom you will be able to use what you’ve got down there to climb your way up again.
I take as long as I need to write that poem. If I think of a line throughout the day, I’ll write it. If I think of a different way of saying something, I’ll revisit it. If feel like being practical with my words, or illustrative with my words, or alternative with my words I will be. And then at the end, I will have pieced it all together. When I’m proud of it, it’s done. Sometimes I will have felt so much pain in the process of digging up memories to document that I won’t want to do anything with the poetry. I imagine many people feel the same about songs. Going back to the example of amy winehouse, she would tend to relapse whenever she had a long string of performances; tours would often trigger depressive episodes for her because singing those words were like reliving the memory, and being trapped in the cycle.
What I have found that you need to do, is set the intention that once that poem, or song, or whatever is complete- that’s the end of the cycle. That’s it now. You’ve done as you need to do. Now it’s over, and you’ve created something, and what you’ve created has landed you in a different position, it’s made you a different person. Like when a lady births a baby and then they’re a mum. Through completing that project, you’ve entered a new chapter and now you get to be thankful for what you get to make of it. It marks the point where you can stop looking back and start looking forward onto the next blank canvas that lies ahead of you. Why keep living in a story that’s already been written?
Once you’re stable in that new chapter, the happiness and relief your soul feels will shine through in your personality. You’ll be lighter, happier, funnier. Whenever you perform, the product will still connect because it’s infused with the intent that you wrote it with, but then you can be interviewed or questioned on it with a brand new outlook. Now, it’s like “look what I made” rather than “look what was done to me”.
Separating the art from the artist is a real game changer. It’s how you begin to recognise that things are usually all energy rather than surface value products.