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Give it away, give it away now October 27, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in just my blogs.

dervish-copy.jpgSome good Quote challenges. I recently watched Monsieur Ibrahim – a spiffy flik about Parisian prostitutes, Sufi whirrling dervishes, and more – where Omar Shariff tells a boy:

What you give, Momo, is yours for good.
What you keep is lost forever.

This speaks volumes to me of the core purpose of art, and my role (and present failure) as an artist. While the hobbiest might find satifaction being the sole viewer of his/her work, art needs to have an audience, and needs to say something. Anything. This is it’s purpose.

Another quote – my quote of the moment – I ran across somewhere says

"Don't have good ideas unless you're
willing to take responsibility for them."

This of course is the challenge to the artist. While it’s not for me to judge the merits of anyone’s particular thoughts, or the work inspired by them, I need to decide for myself, how to get the ideas out of me and into an audience.

This is the hardest thing for me. I have all the concepts, ideas, and plans-on-paper I need. Good ones too (I think), but they just won’t “do.” Meaning it won’t mean shit if they never see the light of day, plus the “doing” part is somehow where I’m blocked.

On a recent post at painter Elise Tomlinson’s blog, we discussed the practical benefits of practising Zen. The teacher I learned most from, Master Soen Sa Nim was always saying “Keep ‘don’t no mind,’ only go straight.” I take this to mean

one doesn't need to be constantly "checking"
one's state, or judging whether things are
"bad or good." Things just are what they are
... you can allow yourself to be free from
mental traps by keeping what's called "don't
know mind" (simply it's logical honesty that
admits I dont know WTF is going on anyway),
which clears the way for the "only go straight"
path, where the geniune will/spirit takes over.

but for me

I can manage the "don't know" part well enough
to gain a healthy perspective. I just need the
"only go straight" part to affect my will and
get something done - get out of my own double-binds.

I know many artists who just work out of a motivating inner drive, but somehow this doesn’t work with me. If anyone has useful tips on how to be willing to lay aside the things that get in the way, and be inspired to get something done with art, please share your insights! Thanks!



1. RR - October 28, 2006

I sympathise with this and sorry, I don’t have any great words of wisdom. Perhaps we all need a catalyst to just make us do the “do”. I kind of understand this right now and seem to be in the middle of a “don’t know mind” state right now but the all important thing is that waht makes us do whatever it is we need to do, will be and in fact must be, something different for each and every one of us. Sometimes it’s just looking at ourselves from someone elses eye. Sometimes it’s just looking at ourselves from the part within that we never allow to speak or keep such a tight control over, it takes us over. Allow your heart to be free to let your head and artistic creativeness flow more freely. Good luck! 🙂

2. pop occulture - November 3, 2006

Whoa, weird. I am going to a Sufi service tomorrow night and I pretty much randomly click through to your blog, and BAM!

3. pop occulture - November 3, 2006

how to be willing to lay aside the things that get in the way, and be inspired to get something done with art, please share your insights!

Surprise! You’re doing it. This is you working through it. It doesn’t just happen overnight. It is a process. You are in it. Keep going. It will work

4. whatacharacter - November 5, 2006

RR- thanks for the wonderful comment! It speaks of very valuable things.

Hi also Tim – thanks for “Pop”-ping over! Thanks also for your own insights. However hopeful I remain in my process of discovery, there comes a point in the struggle that seems very much like spinning one’s wheels in the mud. I’m stuck, and while progress it might sound like, really it’s the elusive wooden board I need to find & get under my tires before I run outta gas!

5. RR - November 19, 2006

Thank you.

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