Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven
is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.
Matthew 13:52 [ESV]
I must qualify my participation in this lyrical conflagration; I am bringing forth poems already written but never posted – which causes me to consider my poetic rationale: spontaneous gush vs. obsessive workmanship.
I used to believe that creative souls produce their most authentic work in a frenzied flow of inspiration. This is the modern myth of the Artist as oracle or prophet – a being so special she/he just HAS to get it out there in one inspired unburdening. To alter it is to make it less authentic; rather like vomiting or excretion, no? But as I grew up and reconsidered things, I moved away from this model. I realized that derivative techniques like collage, “found poetry“, surrealist shock-art, dadaist mockery of previous paradigms and the ironic take on a well-known theme are all good fun, but in the end too easy. This approach cheapens the creative discourse and eventually tries to turn art into a “happening”, poetry into “automatic writing”, music into nihilistic cacophony, and so on.
Stream-of-consciousness dribbles, rants and visionary diatribes often (though not always) make for boring art; we are reminded that we have seen it many times before. Some do it very well – that is sure. I like surrealistic collage and quirky spontaneous juxtaposition—don’t get me wrong; but as a steady diet it will leave you artistically malnourished. We can’t all be dadaists or minimalist mystics… or even Zen haikuists. The other approach to art stresses craftsmanship and mastery and goes against the model of “Artist as mystically-inspired Other” which has been foisted upon us since the beginning of Modernism in the late 19th century.
So I confess – I am not really writing one-a-day for April. I am bringing out of my coffers amateur jewelry set with merely semi-precious stones. I have, however, been reworking, refining, polishing, and finishing these adornments for my loyal Connectees. They have been faithfully and obsessively crafted.