Disinterested Like Dylan: Where the Art Comes From

believe all change is slow. Though it often has an immediate and unexpected feel to it, the further you pan out the clearer it becomes that these things are a thousand brush strokes unveiled rather than a burst of fireworks. This is preferable as paintings last much longer than a burst of ignited magnesium. Today is one of those realizations.

Allow me to unpack.

As a sub-creator, that is, a created being that takes up the act of creation, I've found myself floundering–maybe call it flailing. Either way, while I've managed to create things I consider both excellent and edifying to the soul, it has been like squeezing a glass of orange juice from a hundred already pressed oranges. For every word presented, every note recorded, there have been 15-20 hidden away, never to see the light of day.

This is not an exaggeration; 20:1 is an honest ratio.

Partially this is just the process of art; as one of my favorite storytellers likes to say, it's about producing a mass volume while maintaining excellent taste and only presenting the best. This part of the process I can handle, but there is something more than that. There has been internal conflict I couldn't get past, a resentment I didn't know how to deal with.

I'm bitter about religion.

I think it's poison, I really do. The manipulation, the dishonesty, the fear, the drama–it's astounding. What's worse is that it's about as easy to lay a finger on as one of Flannery O'Connor's subtly racist characters. Both are slimy frogs fresh out of a stagnant pond.

So much of my life has been religiosity alongside and within people who genuinely want to follow Jesus, not to mention the disease that has and still runs in my own veins. For every honest word of affection for my creator, there are at least twenty that came from fear or a desire to impress or coerce.

This is not an exaggeration; 20:1 is an honest ratio.

If art is an expression of the eternal internal, fruit from the vine as it were, from the abundance of the heart, much of my own art has been puss draining from infected wound, which is necessary, but not great for public consumption. Thankfully I've filtered most. Mournfully I haven't caught it all.

If you've been slapped around by my bitterness. This is my apology, and please let me know if there is some way I can help you work through it.

As far as I can tell, the way forward is not to forget about the past, but rather bid it farewell with the aloofness and dis-affection of Bob Dylan.

So long honey babe. Where I'm bound I can't tell.

Goodbye is too good a word babe, So I'll just say Fare thee well.

It ain't that you treated me unkind. You coulda done better but I don't mind. You just kinda wasted my precious time. Don't think twice it's alright.

I don't need to reconcile the past or let it control the present (or let others sit in it). Rather I can let God grow something better out of it. If there is shit in this garden then I've got some good fertilizer. Religion is and will continue to be at play in my life, like an obsessive ex girlfriend who won't let it go, driven mad by my disinterest, but I've devoted enough energy to the bitterness and it's time to say goodbye.

Though that too is a process that might take a while.