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.