‘And you, O son of man, behold they shall put bands upon you, and they shall bind you with them: and you shall not go forth from the midst of them. And I will make your tongue stick fast to the roof of your mouth, and you shall be dumb….’
…or younger, anyway.
So JOB was visiting the Dappled Things website, as one does, and he stumbled across this in the “featured poem of the day” department: a little ditty he composed a while back for some M.L. character…
[Image: Gargoyles at Notre Dame, and the Café Grotesque mascots they inspired.]
From the Sister Sinjin blog: What Does Creativity Look Like Within the Covenant and Constrictions of Life’s Obligations?
When we met for the first time we talked about creativity as our culture celebrates it: Freeing yourself from distractions, surrounding yourself with all things beautiful, being lost inside the space created for yourself whether in nature or a coffee shop, throwing off any labels the world has placed on you and discovering your true self. Who doesn’t want all of that from time to time?
We are at a different stage in our lives, however, where time for leisurely creativity is at a premium. And do we even want that? We all have families and loved ones that we’re not willing to sacrifice to art.
Elise threw out the phrase “Creativity of Obligation” as a topic for exploration. What does it mean to be creative while embracing the roles, responsibilities and obligations of mother, wife, friend, minister, employee, Christian?
What if creativity does not flow best into the limitless space we strive to create around ourselves? What if, instead, it is pressed out of us by the constant, repetitive, unending cycle of daily life? What if creativity is not the result of acting on our every desire, but rather what’s found after everything else has been drained from us?
Maybe there, in the uncomfortable realities of our lives is where creativity is expressed, because it must be in order to survive the exhausting and the mundane. Maybe creativity is more incarnation than transcendence.
Creativity of obligation requires us to show up with all our baggage and create something anyway.
Two weeks after we first met we began recording an album. We have carved out space though it has been brief and hard won. Most of our creative process, however, has happened with children surrounding us, in dirty kitchens and cluttered cars.
If we had all the time and resources in the world we could create something more grand, more elaborate, but not more beautiful. What results will be all of what we had to give in a brief period of time with pinched pennies and crying babies at our side.
Our obligations do not stop us from creating, they compel us.
The river that’s flowing before me now
Pretends to understand its lonely brother Styx.
It is October time, a time of myths
And stranger maths
Than summers know
Or passing springs can bring to sum.
The leaves surrender to a gathered text of sticks
Retailed for fuel and some
Forgotten task that lazes on the banks,
Awaiting frost’s soliloquy of spears and blades.
My whining spill of spooling line
Upsets a loon —
It glides and banks
A wake upon the distant shore.
Old grandsire Proteus appears at last, a blaze
Who builds his kindle, sure
Enough, from limb and branch of weeping pines.
The shivering fish that shake away my hook reform
Beneath the surface. Scaled with dusk,
They catch the disc
Of moon that spins and pines
For autumn’s tomb. A china plate
That shatters trees and stars, this lunar form
Resolves to hold the plait
Of Pitys’ hair the way that Pan had sighed
To grasp her battered body Boreas had thrown
In lust. So raw, his breath
Now fits its breadth
Along the side
Of evening’s flesh. Its chill now combs
My fire. I edge myself against this flaming throne
As ancient winter comes
To claim my blood as corporation sole.
The world’s collateral is not enough and preys
Upon my wasted groin.
(What god will groan
To claim my soul?)
With empty cup in hand, I wait
Between the river’s deep and castle keep. Each prays
To lift this golden weight.
Rotate Caeli has a great sermon for this past Sunday (Extraordinary Form) by a priest in full communion with Rome on the Holy Father’s new document, The Joy of Marriage Sex. Listen and you’ll be mad you did – but at least now you can say, you know, you know.
The power of flies; they win battles, hinder our soul from acting, eat our body.
– Pascal, Pensees, 367
I hate the thing I cannot be and yet
I know I’m not wrong for I’m never wrong.
I count the stars and one alone has set
Me going – all the rest can go to hell.
I didn’t make the flies, but I had put
Their song to good employment. Now they dwell
With me – and I should know, being the lord
Of the buggers, they make an easy sell
For cleaning up a butcher’s yard. Byword
Of light itself – I was it! But no more –
I’ve got a kitchen kingdom, fleshy sword
And flyblown maw instead to tend. I’m sore
At heart and hate the Jews – and Romans too.
But they can play very well together, or
I’ll see them die in their attempts. Then, through
The gates I see that star. That goddamn star.
No fly left out, no maggot stranded – no!
So how can stars be any different? Sure,
The cretins eat putrescence put in front
Of them, but never question it. Their care
For me – it knows no bounds! Each accident
Of nature, each festering harlot of
Ol’ Babylon, every mother-loving runt
Of a whoreson tabbed. Then I look above….
I’m not waiting around. No. Time to move.
I have not read much science fiction* since my high school days but this post would be the second where I draw the reader’s attention to yet another Catholic science fiction writer – John Wright. (Here’s my first post on this topic). Has Catholic science fiction been making a quiet comeback? Percy dabbled; Miller plunged – is there something particular Catholic about science fiction?
Here, by the way, is a slew of reports on the controversy – note the pair of headlines: “Diversity wins as Sad Puppies lose at the Hugo awards” and “‘No Awards’ sweeps the Hugo Awards following controversy”. TRANSLATION: “No one wins – everyone wins.” Captain Beatty would be so proud.
* I still read Ray Bradbury on a somewhat regular basis, but I’ll argue another day why I don’t primarily consider him a science fiction writer (no more than, say, Twain, was primarily a Southern writer or Shakespeare primarily a playwright).
Something Potter came up with after his daughter said she didn’t want to go to mass. Apparently he was trying to one-up her in the anti-mass department.
Burrito, bolus in my belly, fire in my breast. My dinner, my doom. Boo-rree-toh: the trill of the tongue wrapped before and behind by the osculating opening of the lips. Boo. Rree. Toh. It was lengua, stewed lengua, in the middle, morsels melting from meat to stock. It was beans and rice below. It was salsa de tomate on top. But in the tortilla it was all a Burrito.