Everyone who has drawn breath, has a story to tell. Everyone who has lived longer than ten years on this earth, has a story to tell. This world is not easy to live in. By any stretch of the imagination regardless of who and where you were born. How much money you did and did not have. What your skin color is. What your gender is. What your sexuality is. What religion you adhere to (or not) and on and on we go.
And regardless of all these things, these constructs and titles that separate us from one another, there is a history there. And we all have, and ALL OF IT, is important. And the best part of it all, is despite everything we’ve been through, we’re here…right here and right now and somehow, we made it to this point. That, is miraculous.
And it’s through that history – those stories – that we as readers and writers, connect. One of the greatest parts about writing is being able to revisit something in your past. Something that may have happened and being able to pick the event apart. Unlike others, who wish to move past certain things, we dwell in them. We perform an autopsy -so to speak -of the event and when we put this down on paper we are able to place a value judgement on so said event that not only makes writing cathartic it also creates a safe space for the reader and the author to meet. And it’s in that safe space where humanity is shared. An experience, a feeling, an understanding, and it’s there that one finds empathy – and it’s in THAT moment, when simple words on a page – become art.
P!nk while accepting the Presidential Award at BMI (an award given for writers in the music industry) gave a speech where she said, “”I find, as a human being, that it can be really difficult to hear someone else truth, but it ends up being the only reason you can connect with them, and that truth becomes either what you agree or disagree on, – but you are engage ultimately, And as far as ‘memories’ they help you relate and can build a bridge between your differences.”
Your story – matters. So the point of this blog today is to get you to express it in some way or another. Whether in a journal no one will ever read except perhaps your children or grandchildren, whether you put it to the canvas with paint brushes, wrap it up in fiction in a book that you sell, express it through poetry, or scrawl it all down in a notebook and take it out back and burn it- dance around the firepit with a fifth of jack daniels in your hand and laugh at the full moon (Hello, my pagans) , you should write it down.
If you haven’t noticed – and Jamie Fessenden touched on this with an earlier blog yesterday about the importance of knowing if Abraham Lincoln was gay or not – LGBTQI – and A , people’s stories have been erased in the past and are just now starting to be uncovered, and as these people have pushed forward with rights – there is a certain segment of the population who’d originally been responsible for that erasure – are trying yet again to get in the way of people’s fundamental right to live as they were born to live. And if you’re brave enough to share your truth with the world, that is how we learn, and how we come together and understand each other. We – society – are the better for it. And that is how we stop them.
P!nk also had this to say, “I think you can be pretty, slim, have nice shoes, be popular – but if you have nothing to say, than I’m not listening. Because you’re not going to tell me who you are, what you’re afraid of, what you regret, what you REFUSE (emphasis mine) to regret, and therefore you won’t’ teach me anything.”
None of your titles matter, whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, White, Black, Buddhist, etc. there are people out there right now talking shit about you. There are people out there right now filling the airwaves, the pages with words, on television – with static. With hyperbole. With fluff. With nonsense, trying to convince like minded people that they know who you are and what they think is best for your life. And they’re trying to pass laws with your name on them. If you say anything with a modicum of conviction, if you question the status quo, if you sometimes even try to defend yourself from people who want to label you – or defend yourself against popular views of who and what you are, often offends people.
Your story, your experiences, your truth – wipes them out each and every time. And right now in the state of American politics (and in the current state of popular art) as it is, it’s imparative – now more than ever – to ground yourself in your truth and speak. The artist has always been on the forefront of societal change – speaking out even in the most dangerous of circumstances – leading that charge.
And as we stand in the midst of an election season that could go really really good or really really bad, it’s important now, more than ever, for us to push. To speak, to join in a conversation, to add to the list of growing voices out there coming out against the darkness, against those who wish to reverse track and push people down, who wish to reassert control over us, or who would perpatrate and support violence against us. And now this is an open invitation to you to join in the conversation.
You have a story.
Tell it. Strive for your art. Strive for that connection. Strive for that moment. Whether it’s in poetry, music, visual art, journalism, blogging, public speaking, non- fiction, fiction, let us see you. Let us hear you. We’ll all be better for it. Art challenges society. Art – reflects it. And there are people out there who say you should never judge society . I think those people are full of shit. I think if you hold people out over perdition’s flames (Thank you Jonathan Edwards, you son-of-a-bitch) – they often times come back smelling like sulfur.
I look forward to seeing what you can do.
You can watch the entirety of P!nk’s speech here at this jump.