Writing

I’m back in the Bay!  So happy, I’ll explain in a later post, in the meantime here’s one I’ve been sitting on for a while.

There’s a bit from Plato that talks about how Socrates thought poets were the wisest, most profound people in the world, given that their works contained such beauty, such deep hidden meanings.  Upon investigation though he later believed that poets were for the most part dumb and ignorant, understanding not the things the wrote, rather serving as mouthpieces for some muse.

This makes me think that artists in general mix two objectives in their work: conveying their viewpoint and making something ascetically pleasing.  Some artists are all about the message and don’t particularly care about the general aescetic appeal (or any appeal at all) of their pieces regardless of medium.  Others simply want to creat beauty and leave the audience to find a message and meaning for themselves. The differences in these vary from medium to medium, and an intense analysis of art from that perspective is a conversation I’d really love to have someday.  An example that comes to mind is painting in the Renaissance, where artists went from trying to convey the message “I am a devout devout Christian” by painting unnatural looking divine figures using tempura paints, to simply painting beauty for beauty’s sake in a style simultaneously more realistic and stylized than that of the medieval period. Of course there were still religious pieces.  They were really the only way for an artist to make a living in the day, but hopefully you see what I’m talking about.

The same goes for jazz, pottery, poetry and any other medium you can name I feel.

With my poetry I feel I more focus on surface beauty, as with the rigid structure of Tang poetry I like more to look for the most beautiful way to phrase what I want to say within the framework given.  In that vein, I wanted to write a piece about the killings/general states of affairs in the States recently, and found that my words got a bit distorted/changed as I sought what was most ascetically pleasing within the template I had struck upon. (A fairly repetitive Classical Chinese one.)  I hope it pleases and let me know if and how it does or doesn’t.

人非皆有声呼?
岂能以语分之。
人非皆有皮呼?
岂能以色分之。
人非皆有信呼?
岂能以神(名?)分之。
人非皆有生呼?
岂敢试图灭之。

Do not all humans have a voice?
How can you divide them by language.
Do not all humans have skin?
How can you divide them by color.
Do not all humans have faith?
How can you divide them by gods.
Do not all humans have lives?
How dare you seek to end them.

Related, recently I’ve developed a love, perhaps even a reverence for the beautiful sight that is two blank pages of cream-white, silk-soft paper open before you, comfortable pen in your hand, and the knowledge that you have the power to create practically anything with these tools. Sappy? Yes. Having an impact on me recently? Quite possibly. Will I become a professional writer? Heavens no.  However, writing is a hobby I’m surprised to find I take to and I fully intend to develop it for years more.

I’m somewhat optimistic that I’m making progress, but at least with poetry I’m still at the infant phase where I have to state everything it want to say directly (or you might say that at this point I’m incapable of conveying or even conceiving of more abstract concepts).  Here’s one of the more recent pieces

霏霏雨水淋长安
街道成河床成船
水下人世失无踪
自然之怒莫能抗

Rain pours down in torrents, drenching old Chang’an
The street outside a stream, king-sized bed a ship
Under raging rivers, nothing stands a chance
Compared with nature’s fury, we are but a blip.

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