My friend, author Conrad Wessehoeft, sent me video link a couple of weeks ago: Elizabeth Gilbert on Genius, and I've really had to think about it. This link also came about the same time I was rereading the essays of Emerson who firmly held this idea of exterior genius. The idea of genius goes back to Greeks and their belief that genius was something outside of you that showed up when you were doing work. The idea was that you are not a producer of genius but a conduit of it.
Yes, I do believe that genius is out there and that it's there to help. But I don't believe that it is a "house elf" or "a relative of the tooth fairy." This kind of thinking makes my head hurt. I just feel that the universe is so much more than that.
Yes, I am a true mystic - the Christian variety. There are certain things that I am sure of. In the white hot core of the invisible, of the things unseen, dwells the everlasting power of love. The book of John has this cryptic first bit, "In the begining was the Word, and the Word was with God and The Word was God." For me, this is a little crack that I can press my eye against and look into the unseen world. Underneath the people and the loves and wars, the spheres, the dark matter, the sticky stuff and the stars, underneath the cells the mitochondria, and DNA, underneath the atoms, the quarks, the muons, hovering underneath it all for me is the indestructible, unending, all powerful Word of God.
So "Genius" is the gift (that special spark of life) that comes to you when you start pouring out creatively. This spark infuses your work. For me, it like ying and yang, why electricity flows through a wire, and why people love each other, and the millions of other causes and effects that are going on out there in this big old place called the universe.
When you pour out, there is something real and tangible that floods into you. I don't think you need to "believe" in this any more than you believe in gravity. Hey, you woke up this morning, and yet again, you did not float off into outer space. It doesn't really take any faith to count on gravity. I think genius works the same way. When you you create, this action draws the creative power into your work. Call it a "house elf" if you can't wrap you mind around bigger things like good always triumphing over evil, hope never something to be ashamed of, and faith, a precious gift for anyone who is listening. You draw this power into your work when you open yourself up to self-expression.
If you take anything away from today's post I hope it's a sense of relief. You areone of the beautiful bits of the universe, shouting, singing, sharing the wonder of it all. It's a chorus gig not ever a solo act.
My doodle for the week is my very feeble attempt to wrap my mind around the following passage from The Revelation, a book of shadows, figures, and symbols:
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. REV 1:12-16
My playlist hit of the week is from Gustav Holtz's symphony, The Planets.
My quote of the week is from Emerson's essay, "Art."
It is in vain that we look for genius to reiterate its miracles in the old arts; it is its instinct to find beauty and holiness in new and necessary facts, in the field and road-side, in the shop and mill. Emerson