The Invisible Flame

I’m standing at an alter in a dank, shadow filled church. The alter is off to the side, in an especially tucked away corner. There are a few candles sitting on the dusty white cloth draped across it. Only about half of the candles are lit and it seems like they’re going out one by one. Those candles are my goals and dreams. The alter is hidden away, far off to the side where no one walks anymore, that’s my spirit. As time goes on, my adult mind picks out certain flames to suffocate. There is a candle near the back that burns low and dim, but hasn’t been put out, yet. It’s my dream of being accepted as an artist. Not becoming famous or rich as one, but being able to really call myself a writer. To have regular readers, have people enjoy my work, and to be able to dedicate as much time and effort as I need to in order to feel justified in calling myself one.

I’ve made what I consider to be a lot of progress in a very short time as a self-published author. A handful of folks have bought and read my poetry, which I wasn’t expecting. Someone once recited a line from a specific poem back to me. That was like being taken briefly into another dimension. Everything’s been moving so fast that I need to remind myself once in a while that I haven’t even been working on this for a year, yet. When I really started writing again, almost, but not quite a year ago, I hadn’t even considered publishing my work. The thought was something I’d always toyed with, but it always seemed so out of reach. One of the things that I learned about art while making music in a past life was that it is a participatory sport. It requires interaction from other people for it to matter. When we’re younger, we suffer delusions of grandeur. Some of us still do, obviously, but not to the extent we do while inexperienced. This isn’t something that I want to write about, though. It is hard to walk the line of writing your unique perspective on an aspect of life and parroting what’s already been said. I’m trying my best not to do the latter, so I am working to avoid the first.

People sometimes put artists on a pedestal. Some artists try to convince others that the urge to create is somehow painful. They want you to think that, because you don’t quite understand the feeling completely, it hurst them. It’s a bunch of bull shit. It’s a sham. I struggle. You struggle. We all struggle. A lot of people suffer a lot more than I do. I’m not going to try to pull a shade over anyone’s eyes saying I’m more in touch with my emotions than someone else just because I feel the need to create. That little candle of mine, it’s totally, utterly self indulgent. Releasing art into the world to be (justifiably) ignored by the masses, that’s not suffering. It’s the absence of feeling. Emptiness. It’s as though there is a flame, but it emits
no heat or light.

Anyway, I felt like I had to express this, but I also feel like I haven’t thought about it enough to organize my ideas well. When I put out my works, there’s the satisfaction of completion. Hand in hand with that satisfaction is the feeling of letting something go to fly off into the sunset, only to have it plop right down on the ground in front of you. I’ll be lying to myself if I ever start to believe the bird is going to take flight. Definitely not a bad feeling, not a defeat, just something different than I’ve experienced elsewhere in life. Maybe I have and I’m just not aware of the paralel, yet. I do know that the alter where my dreams stand, it gets confusing. Sometimes I can’t tell the candles apart, and there’s no way to guess which ones I should keep lit.

Author: A. M. Langston

Poet and Novelist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s