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Ok so I woke up thinking things like: “this is why I don’t believe in a God,” “this is why I never liked church or choir or repeating anything by rote” and “this is why making a living is hard for me.” Yet oddly I had dreamed about being a strange kind of authority, telling teenagers, “You have to understand, I have more experience than you so thus my word is law.” And then I realized what was missing from yesterday’s bleary-eyed post. The notion of freedom. Which is key to resisting authority. Not just rebellion, stubbornness, childish foot stomping. And how it connects to the artist’s vital imagination. If you succumb to the authority of shoulds and musts, then something essential will shut down in your core and the ability to create will shrink or even vanish. It’s funny. Resisting authority is a rigid stance, but it also opens the artist up to so many points of view and possible perspectives that strict adherence to religion or a company or an institution can’t offer. There is no ultimate freedom of course. Or else it is death. But imagination and what it manifests transcends even this finality. I will not regret my retreat from authority to be an author in a world that wants me often to be anything but. And now I recall that famous e.e. cummings quote: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” O, and another from Marcus Aurelius: “Whatever anyone does or says, I must be emerald and keep my colour.”

by Catherine Owen