Nature is a Haunted House – but Art –
a House that tries to be haunted.
— Emily Dickinson, Letter to T.W. Higginson, L459
yeah, like so much of Emily Dickinson, this phrase has become close to a cliché. something to put on a poster to hang in a classroom. but it’s been sticking with me. I like the distinction it makes. Nature is; Art tries. I feel like so much of how I am is more defined that I am trying to be someone that is not necessarily who I am rather than what I actually am, whatever that is.
art and artifice. they come too close.
I’m working on… a project, I suppose. current form it’s taking is a full-length play, if only to see if I can actually write one, and it’s about a lot of things, but very much about someone who is not dissimilar to me in how much art affects them. so it’s about art, but not only art, because it’s about religion too, since in many ways they are the same thing – the same act of trying to be something more, which is in itself something more. the crying for a vision. and so there are works of art that are characters as are some of the artists. there’s the prophet Jeremiah, who has always been one of my favorite prophets, if only because I think more than other prophets the gift of prophesy was a burden, but one that he could not give up. inspiration, is that the word? the bridge between art and God.
inspiration is the spark that lights the fire, and you can have all the fuel in the world but still no light if you don’t have that spark. but you still need the fuel. there’s this one passage in “Siddhartha,” one of my favorite books which I have not read forever, in which Siddhartha realizes that he has been ignoring the world in his attempts to understand it, like despising the paper and words of a book even while he’s been trying to read it. you still need the paper and the words; they still have intrinsic value in and of themselves, not just the value of whatever they signify. i believe in the importance of the signifier, i think. i have to. because the signified, the spark, whatever metaphors that i could mix in… they are rare. they are precious because they are rare. but i don’t think that should mean that the signifiers should not be precious because they are not rare.
going in circles.