Art inspires Art!Posted: January 13, 2011
“It is difficult for me to separate in my mind whether it is my writing or my lesbianism which has made me an outsider to my family. The obvious answer is both. For my lesbianism first brought me into writing. My first poems were love poems. That’s the source–el amor, el deseo–that brought me into politics, that taught me my first major lesson about writing: it is the measure of my life. I cannot write what I am not willing to live up to. Is it for this reason I so often fear my own writing, fear that it will jump up and push me off some precipice?
Women daily change my work. How can it be that I have always hungered for, and feared, falling in love as much as I do writing from my heart? Each changes you forever. For me, sex has always been part of the question of freedom, the freedom to want passionately. To live it out in the body of the poem, in the body of the flesh. So that when I feel the stirrings of creativity, it is a fresh inhale of new life, life I want to breathe back into my work, into my woman. And I long to be a lover like youth.
I watch my changes in the women I love.”
-Cherrie Moraga, Loving in the War Years: Lo Que Nunca Paso Por Sus Labios
Excellent writing! I have started re-reading Cherrie Moraga’s book Loving in the War Years and it’s mix of poetry, prose, politics and her own personal narrative is giving me much inspiration. It is a very personal and powerful piece of writing. My writing, especially my political writing, is a tapestry influenced by the objective conditions of the world, the people I meet, and my own lived experiences. It is hard for me to separate my politics from my personal narrative. I have become politicized through the experiences I have had, the human connections I have made, and the conditions I was raised in. The politics and my being are in constant dialogue with each other; the politics shape me and I shape my politics. I was thinking about this a lot the other day when I was reading this book while sitting in the social services office waiting for my food stamps paperwork to be processed. Moraga’s own reflections of her life prompted me to reflect on my own.
Her thoughts about fear of loving and writing from the heart, and their relationship resonated in me greatly. I think there is a fear of vulnerability that most human beings experience that cause us to hold back and not allow people to penetrate us too deeply; to see our scars and imperfections. Writing, like most art, is another vulnerable activity, because it is an activity that represents you; as an artist you must allow yourself to be honest and create work that represents you. That’s what makes art so powerful; you can connect with people in a very deep way, and see into their souls. As artists there is a certain fear in allowing yourself to get that vulnerable with your art, because what if someone sees it or reads it and completely rejects it. That is a scary thing. But ultimately when we get over these fears and open up to others as well as ourselves during the creation process we are able to become more in touch with ourselves and our art, which results in our relations with other people becoming deeper, healthier, and more honest. This is very freeing, as Moraga asserts above. She writes,
“To live it out in the body of the poem, in the body of the flesh. So that when I feel the stirrings of creativity, it is a fresh inhale of new life, life I want to breathe back into my work, into my woman.”
So beautiful and sensual.
I am trying to get over my own barriers that I have built within to protect myself from others. A huge part of that process is trusting myself, my voice, and my writing. The more I write from my heart the more grounded I become, and the more I can relate to people and love in a more holistic manner. Moraga’s piece inspired me to write my own poem about love and freedom. Here it goes:
As a young girl clothed in pink
surrounded by visions of wedding days, husbands, children and happily ever afters
I carried closeted dreams within me
yearning for the courage to love a woman.
To take in all of her scars
pain inflicted by the hands of men and the system
that violates and manipulates
till you are no longer whole.
A fragmented being
want to pick up your pieces.
Treasure them and bathe them in oils and rose water.
Wipe your tears away with my lips
and cradle you in your sleep
so you can feel my warmth.
And our souls in dialogue with each other.
Gathering strength so that we can have the courage
Our love sweetens the air
and hardens the ground against our heavy footsteps.
No longer afraid of our abilities to take the world
and each other
into our own hands.