|Binging can be sexy, can't it?|
Last night we celebrated life with what can only be called a binge. After a leisurely unplanned outing to Gardiner, Maine (complete with a trip to the A1 Diner, a bout of library hugging and a rural motorcycle ride in the mist), a cluster of TAM company members feasted at a farmhouse with steaks, seafood, fruits and vegetables on the grill. We drank several bottles of wine and over the course of 4 or 5 hours never once stopped eating, strumming guitars and singing. It was a glorious night for me for many reasons, but especially because it was the very first time any of my lyrics have been put to music and performed. Thanks to Ambien Mitchell for her collaboration, organization, patience and genius! We binged on food. We binged on good company. We binged on creative synergy. We decided that my song and a song of hers should be spliced together in a medley of gloriousness, and that is how "About Your Shirt: The Laundry Song" was born. Creating and sharing are perhaps the two most important things you can do in life - but also, sometimes, the most costly and scary. My Dad (who you may notice I quote incessantly) always says, "Generosity is very expensive."
|Don't burn out!|
Yet, there is a definite majority that do not live long and prosper. Hence the existence of the Forever 27s - that uncanny, ever-growing group of brilliant musicians that have died tragically and unexpectedly at the too young age of 27 years old. To my thinking at least, Winehouse is now a member of that group. I love her music. I admire her artistry. She was a one of a kind original. I worry about a world in which souls that are so eager to share themselves wind up crushed and extinguished.
In all the myths of the creation of the world, one of my favorites is the story that my step-father has sort of invented for himself; God, in the act of making life, matter, space, time, and creatures, poured himself out and in to everything he made until there was no more God separate from his creation, because God WAS literally in his creation: he used himself as the prime ingredient and spent himself entirely to create something new. As if God was the seed, and creation was the sprouting plant. Once there's a thriving plant, there is no more seed.
I don't actually buy this origins story, as I am firm in my conviction that the act of creation needn't destroy its source. But there is something beautiful about looking at creation as an act of sacrifice. The creative mind is constantly pouring itself into what it makes and living fully only in what it makes, sometimes to the point of ceasing to live outside of its own art. This may be an unhealthy extreme for a human being, but I can't help but be drawn to such wacky passion. "Damn the torpedoes! Give it your all. Reckless abandon," and all that jazz. Like Billy Joel would say, "Only the good die young." I always had a somewhat twisted fantasy of dying at 24. I figured by then I'd have created brilliant art, lived fast and furious, and duck out leaving everyone wanting more. Genius, I reasoned, burns at both ends. Wouldn't it be more awesome to go down in flames than to sputter out for lack of spark? That's how I used to think, caught up in the glamor of the creative binge. It's true that the wild binge of life sometimes creates more life, but there is a line where it turns destructive.
|One of my favorite artists on the outer fringe: Dali|
We humans definitely do need to take care of ourselves, especially if we're spending ourselves. Those of us who use our selves as the materials to create, who blur the lines between their art/work and their lives, may suffer needlessly and perish unnecessarily if we loose our equilibrium...but gosh darn it, those chaotic, feverish artists living on the outer fringe of sanity without a tow line sure do create beautiful things. Why is that?!?! Does art spring from life, or vice versa, or nada?
|Fuels my spirit...|
So binge carefully my friends, and don't spend yourselves too soon. We all have our addictions, and we wouldn't be human without them - and perhaps the most intoxicating, dangerous and enlivening addiction of all is our addiction to each other. As we create and share, let's share wisely; our souls don't grow back like lizard's tails. We're all we've got.
Up next: King Lear opens this Friday at the Theater at Monmouth! Talk about feeding your soul. What a powerful story. Can't wait to dive in...