I’ll never forget the first time I stood in front of a Jackson Pollock canvas in full measure. His work was on exhibit at The Getty Museum and I happened to be there with a friend meandering from room to room until I rounded a corner and was met with a nearly floor to ceiling galaxy of paint splashes, drips, and strokes that left me breathless. As the room disappeared around me, I felt such overwhelming awe. I didn’t have the words for it then, but reflecting back after having worked with a number of writers and knowing other brave creative souls, I think the word gratitude underscores the whispered wow that left my mouth.
To leave it all on the canvas, the page…
How are you coming along with your work? Even if you have no dream to publish or sell your art, how is it coming? I recently met with a writer whose work I’ll review until it’s ready for publication. We discussed the work in progress and the voice that is bubbling up from deep rubble through the prose; a voice that is more true to their level of brilliance, one that is more honest, and, ultimately, the voice that will better serve the reader. It’s a voice that’s been growing through layers of shame and fear since childhood. This is no small thing.
There comes a moment in your art when you must be willing to lay down the pleasantries, the sugar coating, the gimmicks and sales pitches, the recommendations of others, the stuff that makes people feel comfortable and write in full, hot, drippy, raw, messy color as your heart beats hard in your ears. Lukewarm or almost is no good. The only way to reach our reader is to leave it all on the page and we must grow through our fear and shame in order to get there. We must not be afraid to bear the fullest expression of ourselves to the work. We must exhaust our words. We must surrender to courage. And then we will have completed the work knowing we have truly served our reader and our purpose.