Archive for October 20th, 2022

Flame of Life

GC Myers- Flame of Life sm

Flame of Life— Soon at the Kada Gallery, Erie

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.

–e e cummings, A Poet’s Advice To Students

I chose the lines above because I thought it meshed well with the feeling that I was getting from the painting above. It’s titled Flame of Life and is a new smaller piece headed to the Kada Gallery for my upcoming solo show there. The lines are from a post from a number of years ago featuring advice from the poet ee cummings to aspiring young poets is one of the most popular posts from this blog.

Its popularity is understandable. The advice is just what any person needs if they want to pursue a life in the arts. I say arts because even though this is targeted at its surface for poets, its wisdom is easily transferred to all other forms of creativity. You can substitute artist, painter, musician or any other term used for a creative person for the word poet in the essay below and the advice is as sound and fitting.

The painting above definitely echoes the nobody-but-yourself feel that cummings invoked in the excerpt just below it. In art– and life, in general– staying true to who you are might well be the most difficult battle of one’s life.

Here’s the full essay including my original intro:

Whenever I am asked to speak with students, I usually tell them to try to find their own voice, to try to find that thing that expresses who they really are. I add that this is not something that comes easily, that it takes real effort and sacrifice. The great poet e e cummings (you most likely know him for his unusual punctuation) offered up a beautiful piece of similar advice for aspiring poets that I think can be applied to most any creative discipline.

Or to anyone who simply desires to feel deeply in this world.

Take a moment to read this short bit of advice and see what you think– or feel.

A Poet’s Advice To Students

(e e cummings)

A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feeling through words.

This may sound easy. It isn’t.

A lot of people think or believe or know they feel-but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling-not knowing or believing or thinking.

Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.

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.

As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn’t a poet can possibly imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time-and whenever we do it, we’re not poets.

If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you’ve written one line of one poem, you’ll be very lucky indeed.

And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world-unless you’re not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.

Does this sound dismal? It isn’t.

It’s the most wonderful life on earth.

Or so I feel.

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