There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.” This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
I’ve known the name Wendell Berry for a little while now, but haven’t looked into any of his work. A recent Dark Mountain blog post introduced me to the man, and his words hit me like a freight train. I sat down with a page of quotes and excerpts from him just now, and started to cry. Writing brings me to tears a lot lately.
This quote in particular, though. My thoughts upon stumbling across it were more or less, “Holy crap, it’s Them.”
I’ve been through a lot in my 4 years with Them. My Year was almost a perfect microcosm of that whole time, also: I had what I thought was a “dream” creative job, which ended sooner than expected, leaving me to pick up the pieces. I had to figure out what really mattered to me, and because of my obliterated expectations, I was left to reassess what I’d previously taken for granted about things at large and my place in it. These were Big Questions I was coming into, and Big Answers I was painstakingly weaving together, all worked by Them through the much smaller world of the-arts-as-personal-expression and the-arts-as-industry. (I have been a prolific, and, they tell me, talented, artist my whole life, so if there is any other nonverbal language that a God might speak to me through, it is the movements and jargon and symbols of that vocation and mindscape. Make no mistake: The Arts is most definitely a place – and the Twins, as I see it, are its resident genus loci.)
The Twins showed me, in as grand (and painless) as possible as They could manage, that I did not know what to do.
Then They showed me that I also did not know which way to go.
I guess that means that the real journey lies ahead.