Today I had a beautiful moment. You see I have been wanting to write a piece for sometime now that has been nagging at my brain for this blog. The idea of creative thought and the organics of it; and today I had set aside to write such a piece, as well as many others, and finish James Joyce’s “The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”.
Due to the makeup of my responsibilities for the day, I decided to come to a cafe that I would normally never think to visit given it’s proximity to the other duties I had. Coming in early in the afternoon, I found myself a table some what set away in the middle of the cafe; and began my reading. Reading for me in a complexity such as this one, often sends me into a dense fog and haze to the world around me. I tend to wrap my head up completely in the ideals presented to me in the work and find little room for much else.
It did not take long for the cafe to fill with people looking for an early Sunday lunch, and I was less than amused with the people that were coming in; landing me in a funk of bitter heart. This cafe was at a junction that produced more consumerism and classiest snootiness than I normally would contend with. As this was going on I was also getting to more and more complex ideals of Joyce, I was also becoming more and more detached from the world around me in every way.
Today I was focused on the last sixty pages of the book. For those whom have never read it, Joyce takes it upon himself to explain his ideals of art and beauty in theoretical detail for the last part of the book, presented by a conversation that takes place betwixt the main character and a college friend. His ideals are rather complex for a quick speed read, especially for a brooding mind like mine.
Well needless to say, powering through a book, causes me to want to take less breaks giving me less of a chance to absorb. However I reached a point where it would not be avoided, and decided to go outside for some air and think over the intellectual concepts Joyce was presenting to me. Given the arrogant and almost hostile nature that Joyce can often take on while writing a piece, I quickly reacted to his ideals, dismissing them as too complex for the ideals he was describing. While catching my breath, I formulated my own theory and decided that I would present it in this piece.
As I walked back into the cafe a woman stopped me and told me how wonderful it was to see someone reading Joyce. She was rather short, and much older, but very beautiful and friendly, so I ended up having a very pleasant conversation; however short it may have been. I confessed to her my feelings on the book and how the last part I felt stuck on given my own ideas about the subjects Joyce was exploring. Still she pressed on me to finish the book, saying I will be surprised how much will stick with me; and agreed regarding the truthful beauty of Joyce’s explanations of the seemingly forced choice of an artiest between a life of virtue or vice.
This was my beautiful moment. This moment which opened me up to word of a stranger whom could recognize the ideals within myself and expound upon them for me and her. It was in that brief moment of conversation where I could understand the oneness of the universe expressed in two different artists at different points in life, expressing to one another their identical thoughts on creative processes brought about by a long dead artiest expressing the same thing. It was in this moment that the organic, abstract, ideals of the creative thought process crossed over between mediums, and strangers to show us both that we were one in the same. Then of course the bitterness melted.
She advised to me that the constant questioning of virtue and vice never truly goes away, and as she left and I sat down to write my thoughts. I looked over the passages that at first had turned me off to Joyce’s ideas. The ideas were not complex, but rather simple and quite in step with my own. It was not the ideal that he was expressing, but rather the complex thought process that we are subject to before we find the simple answer.
“We are right, he said, the others are wrong. To speak of these things and try to understand their nature and, having understood it, to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again, from the gross earth or what it bring forth, from sound and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we have come to understand-that is art”
Art and the creative thought process is something simple and organic, that is deep within all of us as Spirits. It transcends mediums, and strangers. It is just as it is, something that breaks the mind in recognition of expression of the soul.