July 31, 2010

Being weird – by design


few days ago, Mary and I discussed the absolute reality of our being very much outside the mainstream. We’re not this way on purpose—we’re not trying to be different. We just are. Mary mentioned that we are musicians. And, yes, it’s true. We are both musicians and musicians, pardon the pun, march to the beat of their own drum. But it’s not just musicians.

I believe it is a creative spirit—a desire not for significance but to leave the world an aspect of beauty that was not there before we were there. And after we have lived, we have now left this beauty for others to appreciate and enjoy. Something to make their lives better. That is the life of an artist. That is the creative life. It’s very different from the lives, the desires, the dreams of others. And although we live among those others, we are always quite a bit out of step with them. We are the creative people. The artists. The musicians. The writers. The decorators. The photographers. We are artists—often not appreciated until after our deaths. But that doesn’t stop us.

We are the ones who were advised by our parents to find another career path. We were told that we could not make a living at music, or writing, or design, or photography. We needed to pursue accounting, or pastoral ministries, or education—anything other than art.

But we didn’t listen.

Our parents were right. Most of us can’t make much of a living pursuing our dreams. But that was never the goal. The goal is the art itself.

This is dedicated to those artists like me. Artists who may never be known and may never make a decent living. But who continue to create anyway. Someday, somewhere, someone will benefit from our art. Their life will be made a tiny bit better by what we have created. And that makes it worth it all.

Thank you, God, for the creative gift. I would rather be a starving artist than a famous and well-known (and well-paid) celebrity who doesn’t have an artistic outlet. What a sad place that would be to live.


riting is an act performed in solitude. I am tempted to call it a psychotic act, for we writers construct an artificial reality that only we inhabit and that often seems more real to us than the other world “out there.” After I have holed up for a week on an intensive writing project, I find I must go through something like reentry, having forgotten how to have a normal conversation and conduct the subtle negotiations that comprise human contact. I have been shuffling words and ideas around and, difficult as that may be, it is a far more controlled and orderly process than interacting with live human beings. As a result, we writers tend to withdraw, secluding ourselves, observing life without truly participating in it.

Philip Yancey, Soul Survivor, p. 89



  1. There's something about we artists that see through prisms -- we're able to separate the common into vibrant colors that other people just can't see. And it gets frustrating to us when people can't see or hear what we're seeing and hearing, but that's because it's not their gift.
    On the other hand, they get frustrated with us because we're always taking too long with the colors when they just want the outlines. It's good that we balance each other out, but life would be ever better if we could appreciate the other's gift rather than demanding everyone else to be just like us.

  2. Let me get this straight, Mary. Are you implying that they have a gift also? I mean - obviously we have the gift of creativity. So their gift is, "lacko-creativity"?

    Sorry - Just being an annoying artist. I know they have gifts. Kinda like those ugly mugs my sister and I passed back and forth as Christmas gifts each year until they all broke. You know - like the gift in Ella Enchanted from the fairy who gave gifts no one actually wanted.



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