Paroxysms

Why does an artist paint, or a musician play, or a writer write? What is it about the paroxysm of creation that in its name some choose to bleed life and hope, desperation and delusion?

At the behest of our private muses we empty veins filled with dreams as paint or words upon page or breath. We embrace our own unmaking, as if by our collective dissolution we can create shapes that will survive our fragile flesh. We reach deep within ourselves and pull from that wreckage both the pain and light that serve as the midwives for our own humanity.

Do we, perhaps, do this in service to the creation of a harmony by which others can key themselves to in the creation of some unnamed, unknowable symphony?

Perhaps, instead, we do this to empty ourselves of the deep things that fester in the dark places of our souls. Perhaps, it is because if we do not so empty ourselves, if we do not vomit forth the demons that in the dim times of the night whisper beguiling lies, we will consume ourselves in our own fires.

But whether agony or ecstasy burns us, still we will burn as candles and flames and torches against those voices that argue for apathy, or convenience, or simply our own self-debasement. We tell ourselves the lies of inevitability, of inconsequence, of justification that we may sleep at night.

We flee from the truth we dare not face: it is not fate, not chance that defines the threads of our lives, but the sum of our own choices. Our lives are the tapestries we ourselves weave; the skeins are those we ourselves place. It is true, we do not choose the cloth or the color, but it is to each of us alone to determine the pattern that is woven.

When the last thread is cut, what will be the story it will tell? What echoes will we leave behind, what promises unbroken will remain? What unadmitted shames will unbury themselves, and what unconfessed dreams will take flight and burn like a phoenix in the hearts of those we leave behind?

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