"Tantrikas write poetry, not philosophy", Pavarthi said once. I marvel at the need for a book on how to write a love letter...as if it weren't innate.
Before year-end, I shared the provocative question, "What's your dream?". Yet never shared my answer. Here it is, distilled down from five words to four: GLOBAL AWAKENING THROUGH ART.
That might beg the question, What is art? For me, art is a crystallization in form of simple formlessness of beauty, peace, glory, harmony. I think that there's a distinct possibility that beauty and harmony prevail on almost any universe, although I cannot know that for sure, so I'll focus on this universe. This planet Earth.
My dream came from inspiration, and you can probably guess that's a bit too big for me to tackle all by my wee self. Yet you're never ever all by with your wee self with inspiration whispering into your ear.
Still, I've not mentioned anything about partners in inspiration. Thus far what I've written it's been you and Her. And me and Her.
But what about us?
What about human muses? What about fellow artists? What about faeries? What about angels? What about daffodils? What about tomatoes? What about cacti? What about dolphins? How does life animating these sentient beings spark inspiration and aid our mutual dreams?
This blog started as an attempt to gear up for a worldwide journey to the creative class centers of the world. I'm less intested these days in investigating collective creativity than I am in sparking and living it.
As I wrote an acquaintenance last year whom thought my core strength was as a buzz marketer: "[M]y true interest is in how movements are born, things like civil rights movement, sixties, Italian renaissance, etc. And even how communities come together after disaster to rebuild such as Indian Ocean tsunami, 9/11, Katrina, 1906 SF quake." That's definitely buzzing, but it's more about spreading beauty and grace like wildflowers and circulating it about like bees for a different objective: a social art that speaks in the sacred tongue familiar to each of us.
So I suppose my truest interest is collectively creating a new world where matter itself is penetrated and enlivened by the most sublime of essence.
Thus it must seem mighty strange that I talk more about being true to your own self here than collective creativity. Yet without a strong commitment to your own uniqueness and integrity, any collective could devolve into groupthink (and sterile soulless) mobs.
I met a few folks from a New Orleans collective the other night. "I loved you the first moment I met you," said one who'd I met at a neighborhood tree planting of grape myrtles and magnolias and live oaks a week before. "Your energy. You love people," he said by way of explanation. He introduces me to the other artists.
We talked about having a video interview on Wednesday at their studio space since they seemed to intensely grok my rebirth motif. After the St. Claude Gallery Night, somehow Wednesday seemed too far off to delve deeper into conversation (& conversation being an art form all of its self).
We spontaneously ended up chatting late into that evening at their collective space. Anything I could say about the group right now would sound trite in letters and punctuation and line breaks. You know mutuality and love when you feel it.
"Now that doesn't negate the fact that honestly, yes, in fact, what I wrote last two days is sparked by your presence (it doesn't need to be local for me to feel it) and paradox too in knowing it's ultimate Source which is about you too but doesn't stop there. Doesn't stop period. So it's like a love letter to Russell. But even more it's a Love letter to Love." - from an email I wrote to a muse last year (name changed to protect the Beloved ;-))
The wealth of heart full art from Dante shows what I mean. Dante wooed Beatrice in his heart, without ever consummating any tangible affair.
It'd be a travesty to restrict love to your Muse. Or delude myself into thinking they are The literal source of inspiration. They embody for me the source of inspiration, which is quite an important distinction. When you are with them, you are arrested and they easily strip you to your undefended heart, a bursting of love and creativity with every melting (or meeting) that crosses your path. They simply rekindle the god in all things. (Thank you to Nola spiritual teacher Judith Linden for the term "undefended heart").
As I've been told that New Orleans is the root chakra of the country. I interpreted that base chakra's concerns to revolve around survival and security. A friend corrects me: "It's more about integrating the primal." Primal? My mind jumps to the animalistic savage undomesticated Lilith (who unlike the dust coalescing into Adam) was fashioned from filth and sediment.
Days later, what's primal is answered because the Muse has that way about them:
you have a sweet unobtrusive way of
my heart into its natural innocence
nigh impossible to shield it
and who'd want to (even out of habit)
i'd miss the overwhelm of perfume of the night-blooming jasmine
and the long moan of the train like an church organ on Press St and
its freight car graffiti proclaiming "You Are your Art"
and the clouds shifting slow over the levee
something (someOne? mySelf?) spoke to me in the silence
the other day and it said to me:
"There's a primal heart, Evelyn. There's a primal heart too.
music wells up from." - email today to a recent muse
I think I will share two snippets from selections sent to muses in my past that speak of muses and musing:
So I came to this Rilke poem (I love Rilke) referencing the courtesan, poet and accomplished lute-player Tullia D'Aragona that I wanted to share with you...
Die Laute (The Lute)
by Rainer Maria Rilke
I am the lute. Perhaps you'd like to dress
my figure in your words. My curving stripes
you may describe as if I were a ripe
full-bodied fig. Why not over-stress
the darkness you perceive in me? I shared
Tullia's darkness. I've even more than she
had in her private parts and her bright hair
shone like a ballroom. Sometimes we
performed duets: her mouth took up the sound
that swelled from me, embellishing my song.
Against her softness I held tight and strong
until our intermingling was profound.
they write: By the way, the Rilke poem is incredibly comforting and erotic all at once. How can things do both at the same time?
After Michelangelo's muse and confidant (doubtful they ever took their communion into lovemaking, sometimes even sex is superfluous), Vittoria Colonna died, he began work on the Florentine Pieta, and envisioned it as a sculpture of Vittoria/Mary Magdalene - because she was Magdalene to him. Michelangelo wrote in his letters:
"How can it be, Lady, as one can see from long experience, that the
live image sculpted in hard alpine stone lasts longer than its maker
whom the years returned to ashes?
and I know, for I prove it true in beautiful sculpture, that time and
death can't keep their threat to the work. Therefore, I can give both
of us long life in any medium, whether colours or stone, by depicting
each of these faces of ours; so that a thousand years after our
departure may be seen how lovely you were, how wretched I, and how in
loving you I was no fool."
"The sonnets of Michelangelo, recently given to the world, were written when he was nearly seventy years old. Several of the sonnets are directly addressed to Vittoria Colonna, and no doubt she inspired the whole volume.
A writer of the time has mentioned his accidentally finding Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna seated side by side in the dim twilight of a deserted church, "talking soft and low." Deserted churches have ever been favorite trysting-places for lovers; and one is glad for this little glimpse of quiet and peace in the tossing, troubled life-journey of this tireless man.
In fact, the few years of warm friendship with Vittoria Colonna is a charmed and temperate space, without which the struggle and unrest would be so ceaseless as to be appalling. Sweet, gentle and helpful was their mutual friendship. At this period of Michelangelo's life we know that the vehemence of his emotions subsided, and tranquility and peace were his for the rest of his life, such as he had never known before...
Michelangelo died at Rome, aged eighty-nine, working and planning to the last. His sturdy frame showed health in every part, and he ceased to breathe just as a clock runs down." - snippet from web-books.com on Michelangelo
Thinking of you. What a gift you have been to me, Russell.
He writes among other things: And you, me.
p.s. All Muses are gifts. And gratitude the offering that needs no impulse.