“Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.” The Secret History.
For a long time I told myself, and anyone else who asked, that I was not creative or artistic. And the truth is that I do not have any real ability to paint, draw, sing or play music (because that is how I have longed defined ‘creative and artistic’). Coupled with not feeling particularly creative, I also grew up in an environment that did not profess the pursuit of beauty as important or essential. I definitely did not grow up in an environment that encouraged or acknowledged that the stringing together of words could be considered a true creative calling. And honestly it was easier/safer just to go with that than trying to explain to people that words had an ability to unleash my heart and give form to my swirling thoughts. Needless to say that for a long time, beauty, the creating or pursuing of, was not high on my list of important things to do.
Maybe I have always had an inkling that words were where the Great Creator and my creativity met. And that somewhere in that meeting something beautiful would reveal itself. But when you harbor such uncertainty about your ability and when you are surrounded by those who create beauty daily, easily accessible and easy to define beauty, there is some trepidation about putting your hand up to participate.
For a long time I subscribed to the idea that beauty needs to be dramatic, because that is how visual beauty often encountered me, in great sweeping moments, with loud declarations and brute force (think Uluru, think thunderstorms, think the Parisian skyline).
Over the last few years I have come to meet with beauty in a much kinder and gentler way. It has come to me in whispers and it is here that I find a place for my words. Mary Oliver, Thomas Merton, Frederick Buechner and Marilynne Robinson have taught me that beauty doesn’t need to slam you against a wall. Beauty can gently take you by the hand and reveal itself in simple, sweet, tiny moments. Genuine beauty is not always alarming. And I do not need to create sentences that attempt to shock and convince, sometimes I just need to pay attention to the details, and write that. For there is simple and restful beauty to be found in the little things.
This is the perfect place for me to start. I am not adverse to beauty, nor am I disinclined to purse it or create it. In my little world, creativity, words and beauty are all entwined in and around each other. I am becoming more and more hopeful that through this 31 day journey I will feel a freedom to pursue beauty knowing that is wedded to a greater truth and cause.