I just watched the most inspirational video in chapel today. It was a lecture by the author of Eat, Pray, Love. And I just had the biggest revelation. Lemme just sum up her words and my thoughts combined.
Artists and creative minds alike are often known to be a little crazy, depressed, druggies, alcoholics, nut cases. Not all of them, of course, but none can argue the fact that they hold that reputation. And why is that? It’s because of that day that an artist has that one pivotal moment in their career when they produce something complete magnificent. The world is awestruck, its fame spreads like a virus. And for a moment that artist is held on the most wonderful pedestal they could imagine - THIS is the day they were waiting for, working for, striving for, THIRSTING for their entire career. But then the morning of tomorrow comes and they are faced with the challenge of topping themselves. The world looks at them with worry and sympathy in their eyes, knowing that most likely their career has only one place to go - down. And it is this realization that drives so many artists in depression and causes them to drink a bottle of whiskey at seven o’clock in the morning.
But is that really all that lies ahead for the aspiring artist? It that how their life is doomed to turn out?
Ancient cultures of the world used to believe that creativity did not come from the individual, but from a spirit, what they called a damon. Socrates claimed he had a damon. In Rome, it was called a genius. They person was not a genius, they had a genius. And it was at the moment that they were creating that the genius would choose to enter the person and guide, direct, and inspire their creative work. So when people saw this astonishing piece of talent, the would exclaim, “Ala! Ala! That is a glimpse of GOD”. Throughout the years, while being transferred to different cultures, “Ala” turned into “Olé”, which is why you hear it shouted today during sporting events for an extraordinary feat. People used to look at such works of talent and think, “wow that was incredible! That must have been God…”.
Today we believe that talent comes from the individual. An artist can have one extraordinary piece of work and be internationally known for it, but then the rest of their lives they are competing with that work, instead of just recognizing the inspiration that artist attained. It takes off so much pressure when you admit that it is not you who possesses the talent, but the talent is being put onto you. When you fail, it is not your fault, you showed up to do your job.
Now, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, is by no means a Christian, but she recognizes the fact that their are times in artist life where inspiration comes onto them and there is no explaining it, you just run with it. I agree with that, but I recognize where that is coming from. It is coming from God, the true God.
I have been second guessing myself lately - second guessing the choice I have made to study to become an artist and pursue an artistic career. Is this a selfish life choice? Who does art really benefit? Am I really only doing this because I enjoy it, not to impact any lives whatsoever? But then I realized that my only job is to show up to work - to do my part. I cannot control the outcome. I cannot control the impact. I merely do the best I can do, work the hardest I can, and GOD chooses, when He will, to use me as a tool to make an impact. And when He does, people will look at my work, and say “Olé! Olé! That is a glimpse of God..”