Friday With Firkan #3
When you’re an artist, you wait for people to ask you one question: How do you do it?
It takes various forms:
“Where does a song come from?”
“How was it written & composed?”
“What does it feel like to think of a song and then see it turn into something real?”
You’ll get a different answer from every artist you ask those questions.
So here’s mine, based on my process:
Most days are utterly dull.
Nothing new happens. No breakthroughs appear. The pen refuses to move on paper. The fingers refuse to play the piano. A good rhythm feels off-beat. Everything about everything you’re doing feels wasteful, useless, boring.
The trails an artist walks are filled with puddles of despair, the roads wary for repair, the forest waiting for rain. I’m tempted to say it is like a desert, but that’s the beauty (and ugliness) of it: it’s a forest that’s gone dry, but still gives enough shade for an explorer like me.
The process of art is not for the faint of heart.
It’s not enough that you have to learn to fail. You have to learn to fail and still come back – with or without enthusiasm – to do more of what you think you should be doing. All talk of loving what you do will seem stupid on the day when nothing new or good or even passable comes forth from your heart and soul.
You feel equal parts lost and found. You know you cannot leave, you feel you cannot stay. This is a dangerous place to be in, because this is where hope goes to die. I’m a fairly optimistic person, but I’d be lying if I claimed it’s all joy here. Nope. Hope’s burial is full, complete yet excruciatingly slow.
But something strange happens when you keep coming back.
When you sit down each day, remembering that yesterday was a day and today is a day and you chose to do this instead of something else you could be doing, you seem to please the Force that be in some way.
And then, out of nowhere, you’re blessed with that moment of intense clarity.
A melody or a lyric comes out of the ether and enters your consciousness at the exact moment you thought this was going to be another one of those dull, hopeless days.
Suddenly, you find yourself at the center of a river’s mouth that seems to flow in every direction all at once. Ideas fall into you like waterfalls from a sky you cannot see, and the backdrop is of gleaming stars that seem to wink at you with every twinkle of their light. They knew you would visit.
It’s an incomparable ecstasy that seems to last almost as long as it must, before leaving you at the just the right time to make sure you come back for more.
You’re now back in your room. The haze of the Creative Force lifts, and you take note of the time.
As you collect yourself, you find that an old friend has come to visit.
Say hello to hope again.