Or: write on, Psalmists.
About a month ago, I went to see The 1975 play in Charlottesville. They, while not of the mainstream-radio set Stateside (yet…), have cultivated an impressively dedicated following. I can’t help but think that it’s not only because of their copious output and obvious talent/hard work combo, but also because of their utter sincerity. In their performance, and in their lyrics, it’s impossible to ignore. To me that is something beautiful – something to be proud of.
Sincerity. Complete emotional honesty. It’s what so many of us seem to be craving lately.
It’s why I love The 1975 unabashedly, even as a not-teenager (though I’m sure at 17 I would have been hyper-obsessed). It’s also one of the many reasons why Julien Baker and her echoic power have drawn me in. The poet with a guitar that rings out like a harp, her simultaneous rejoice and complain – her sincere, raw music are a gift to this world.
Music. Stories. Sincerity. Crying out to God in verse, reaching out to others in melodies, letting one’s spirit be free as it reveals itself between the notes of a song or the lines of a page. These are spiritual acts.
But of course it is, you think. You might think, for example, of the Psalms, of the Song of Solomon – then of Paradise Lost – or of Emily Dickinson’s plaintive queries to the Almighty. My mind goes to a gorgeous book of poetry called Bucolics a friend gave to me: pastoral verses that invoke the relief of nature, that send the writer’s wonderings to the God he calls Boss. Serious, curious, sweet. It’s refreshing.
I think this idea was re-awoken in me, though, by a sermon I heard on generosity. (Not the kind you’re thinking of, probably. Bear with me here~)
What I mean is: generosity is a spiritual act, too. To give what you’ve been given back to others, or to the one who gave it, is to share the light that is love. It is a way of making the impossible suddenly so possible. Of course it’s true in a financial context, but it’s also true relationally, and definitely artistically.
Isn’t this one of the reasons why we create in the first place? Are not our painted, composed, concocted works offerings in themselves?
I am trying to tease out what this looks like in my own life. But I wonder what it could look like in yours. I wonder what it would be like to have more and more people turn to this form of offering and of connection.
So until these questions are answered, I’ll probably just have Julien Baker on repeat. She just casts that kind of spell.