Art's End Is Not Despair

by Amy Lowe October 20, 2010

[I] was recently reading through one of my favorite publications, The Sun, and found this quote--it resonated with me and I think it expresses some of our vision for Ruminate:
The most beautiful paintings and sculptures, the greatest poetry, have not always been born from torment or bitterness. Often they have sprung from contemplation, from joy, from an instinct or wonder toward all things. To create from joy, to create from wonder, demands a continual discipline, a great compassion...With time and sincerity you will discover a way to work and write that does not harm you spiritually, that does not tempt you to vanity, that is the deepest expression of your spirituality. You will find a voice that is not your voice only, but the voice of Reality itself...If you can be empty enough, that voice can speak through you. If you can be humble enough that voice can inhabit you and use you. - Thuskey Rinpoche
I'm not saying that beautiful work can't come from hard things, but I like this idea that art's end is not despair, but something hopeful. What do you all think?


Amy Lowe
Amy Lowe

Author

Amy Lowe has served as senior editor and co-founder for Ruminate Magazine since 2006. Many of the fiction and nonfiction pieces she has worked with have gone on to receive Pushcart Prizes and notable mentions in the Best American Short Story anthology and Best American Essay anthology. She has taught English literature and composition for ten years at the secondary and college level. And she sees it as a great honor when authors, both new and newly read as well as seasoned and recognized, entrust her with their writing. She finds great joy in connecting audiences with beautiful and important pieces and believes in the power of a good story to both illuminate and transform. And mostly she loves how a story allows you to see the world from another person’s perspective.



5 Responses

John McClarren
John McClarren

February 17, 2017

We’ve all read phenominal works by people who have created those works only through their own creativeness and perhaps some very positive experiences. Many extremely creative people have had horribly traumatic and corruptive lives, but that is not to say they are the only or even the best writers and performers of our time.

I like to think that I have some very significant ideas to present to a very large readership (not that I have attained publication YET), but my ideas have not come just from trauma. Many have come from very humorous events that have occurred in my life, and I am quite sure that many will be more than just a little humorous to others. I also have an angel story that I am now thinking about for submission to Ruminate Magazine. Yes, it was from a rather serious event, but it turned out to be extremely positive, in that I should have died, and I am still very much alive. It was just one of many events that confirmed for me the existence of angels.

Martin Avery
Martin Avery

February 17, 2017

This makes me think of a Rumi quote:
“A craftsman pulled a reed from the reedbed, cut holes in it, and called it a human being. Since then, its been wailing a tender agony of parting, never mentioning the skill that gave it life as a flute.”

Kara
Kara

February 17, 2017

“With time and sincerity you will discover a way to work and write that does not harm you spiritually, that does not tempt you to vanity, that is the deepest expression of your spirituality.” What a beautiful and wise perspective. I love this concept of being gentle with your creativity. It is something I try continually to do (and fail a lot – see that part about vanity!). This was a great reminder, something I have experienced personally in my writing life: the easier I take it, the more fruit-filled the work. Thank you!

Angela Doll Carlson
Angela Doll Carlson

February 17, 2017

I love this thought and I love “The Sun” as well! The mistake I think I made as a young artist was that I thought I needed to be in a constant state of angst in order to create something worthwhile. Now that I’m knee deep in my 40’s I realize, finally, that the transformative act of creation is not only NOT limited to my angst but is, at best, limited BY it. The deeper I climb into that well the more I understand myself but the strength I have to climb back to the sunlight comes from having done the work of joy up at the surface. Knowing what’s at the top of that deep well is what keeps me WANTING to climb back up instead of sitting there in it and making it my new home. Thanks for this quote today, Amy!!

Robert Pope
Robert Pope

February 17, 2017

In “The Nature and Aim of Fiction” Flannery O’Connor said “people without hope not only do not write novels, they don’t read them. They don’t take long looks at anything, because they lack the courage. The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have experience.”

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