Jul 28

The Sensitive Artist

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive.
To him...

a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god, and
failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create--so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.

--Pearl Buck--

Jul 21


24 January 2009

An anonymous comment on my "Self-Portrait with Dead Goldfinch" poem, posted at poemhunter.com: "I am reading this in a public library," it said, "and it made me cry."

Since writing it I have learned of a well-known 1829 painting on the same theme, "Boy with Dead Goldfinch," by Vasily Tropinin. The boy is wearing what we call a poet's blouse, and his goldfinch was caged. He appears to be a bit angry, not just grieved; I believe his faith in the life of beautiful things has been tarnished a little.

Today was not a good day for me; my faith has been tarnished in every area but my writing. So I turned towards it. There, it's eternal summer. A place where only words die -- to be replaced by better ones -- and lovely things may live forever. The page is calm and shows no grief at having been written on. The craft is tedious, absorbing, taxing, and in doing it you renew your faith. The times faith and words have failed you eventually fade from memory.