Eccentricity is a scent of art.

 Eccentricity is a scent of art

To be unique is to be authentic. To be unique is to try in vain with goodwill to be like everyone else without ever achieving it. It is trying to conform to the norms accepted by society without ever feeling at home. All true talent, all profound intuition are unique and authentic in their content and also in their form. It is not likely the same in the way they appear, thinking of  Diogenes of Sinop who walked the streets in the middle of the day with a lamp illuminating the faces of his fellow citizens because he was looking for man, like Bob Marley who had let this hair grow into dreadlocks, stating that his hair was his identity or like Keith Moss, the champion of both behavioural and behavioural quirks or even more like Nicolas Tesla who would not enter a building unless he had turned three time around it… Art is the domain where the unique authenticity of the artists expresses itself with even more colours and flavours to the point that artists are seen as eccentric beings. Eccentricity is the other side of talent. It is its other face always half-discovered. There is no talent without a means of expression.

Every talent wants and seeks to express itself, in the same way that the nature of all light is to enlighten. Art unlike a lot of disciplines is the one that feeds on its subject while letting the subject flourishes. The subject-object relationship is very different than the one that is maintained in other disciplines. As artists, we are both subject and object of the art that we express. If the talent can be expressed in terms of light, or moreover like a candle, the artists burn their wax by letting the art express itself through them. The light that passes through the artists by the means of the talent that they express, consumes them at the same time.  We are not poets because we are writing poetry. We are poets because poetry expresses itself through us. We are not musicians because we can write music or sing. We are musicians because everything in us has a rhythm and musical note. We are musical beings. The music we produce is the music that surrounds us and makes us. We are not painters because we paint, but because the whole universe is for us a source of inspirations and infinite productions.

To say it with Heidegger terms; “we become what we are” To be and to become fully the artist who sleeps within us, is to be ourselves in an authentic way. It is to be unique.  It is precisely this mode of existence that often stands in opposition with the social norms, conventions, half-measures, which at first glance allows artists to appear as marginal beings, as eccentric beings. The aim of all artistic life is not to reach the summits of eccentricity, but the true communication of inspiration that is seen under canvas, under  music, under sculptures under poems. If it is true that we are not equal in front of talent, it is also true that we do not react the same way when it comes to its expression. The heart of every artist is a vulnerable heart. The life of an artist is vulnerable to life, vulnerable to the light, to the beauty, to the time and especially to all that manifests itself through him. Yet  the artist is trying to express what comes through him with his strength of character, with the means of the art that he  endowed. There is only one certainty that the expression of talent does not leave an artist unchanged.  In the light of poetry, the exercise of talent is tantamount to whispering between words; to write is to listen.

There is meaning in words.  But words expressed are no more innocent, because they always come through a medium. They are never alone, never without intentions. They are ways and paths to someone, to something.  Like water they need a container. Like a guest they need to be hosted. It is the vase which contaminates the words. It is the host who makes the stay a desirable one. But writing while listening to words only, to what wants  to be expressed only, it is to put ourselves, as the medium, in the background without ever disappearing. It is to forget our egos within the way of words. Writing poetry then is tearing the blissful tranquility of appearances. It is to find the heart and intimacy of things, of life, in a moment that I call eternity. Eternity is not a time without end, but is with what we fill  our moments in the horizon of time. We can never fully hear the voices that call for eternity within us. it is only whispered, only folded into life, into daily worries, into daily deeds.

Awaiting us to unfold the meaning. Meanings waiting to be said, to be revealed, to be drawn. Art is a profound transformation of oneself, a profound work of deepening the meaning of life that is not always very obvious for everyone and even often for the artist themselves, as if we were undergoing our art rather than living it fully and assuming it.  We do not always write, always carve everything we want, but something in us forces our gaze to see, our hand to write, our brush to draw.  That thing is not just the work we do, but the person we become. We do not need to understand in advance our art to execute it, but to adequately prepare ourselves for its accomplishment.

Unlike many other professions, being an artist is a permanent and irreversible state. The inspiration does not know of holidays, nor of retreats…We must live with this state of things and all that we cannot express through art comes to be imposed permanently in our daily life as a reminder of the work that continues without our knowledge. Nature is incredibly effective and therefore under the eccentric auspices of artists, it is always the art that continues to express itself.  Art is the dimension of the universe that science cannot contain in theorems and axioms that gives itself to us as a sensibility of infinite complexity and intelligence. The artists who express it are profoundly altered and changed by the energy that emerges from it. The overflow that they cannot express through their art is expressed through their person because people do not understand the stakes and struggles that they endure and interpret wrongly this expression rich in colour and flavour of their person as being of the eccentricity. If they knew how much art was there, they would look at the artists differently.  Eccentricity is an expression of all artistic beauty. It does not mean that in order to be an artist, one must become eccentric, but only that eccentricity is part of the beautiful expression of art. Because we are not equal regarding talent, so we do not all react in the same way. Some eccentricities are for all to see and very loud, others are just subtle in the refined way of being oneself.

 

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Seed of light

There is at the foundation of any artistic life the need to express something regardless the form of art that  this “something” is expressed through.
In ancient times, art was dedicated to the gods; painting, carving, music and poetry had that task deep within their function. 
So there is in art a magic and divine power.
It is indeed these attribute that helped Orpheus with only his musical instrument and his voice to put asleep the cerebra.
Modernity does not take out the magic sense and enchanting power of art.
If we listen to Mozart’s requiem, we can feel deep within us that power.
Even if we do not paint for the same reasons, even though the gods of today have surpassed those of the past,
somethings in art are still unchanged. It is not defined by success, but by talent.
Bob Marley used to say that “I did not wait for success to know that my music was right”
Talent is the measure at the heart and the spirit of the artist. 
The artist is a powerful catalyst of an energy that has to be given a form that our mind and our heart can digest. 
Talent is made out of generosity. 
Talent is the deep fertility of time in an artist’s life. 
The depth of talent does not always comes from the tranquility of existence. 
To those who the universe has given a lot, it asks a lot in return from them.
This is particularly the case with Beethoven, despite his growing deafness with the years, he had to find his way to continue composing to overcome the barrier that his disability was posing. 
So there is something in every human being that is bigger than their life, that is more important than all the worries linked to the modern life. 
The artists are certainly the most sensitive to it because they devote their whole lives to it. 
That thing, I call it the seed of the universe. We are the dust of the stars, as such, each one of us carries within themselves a glimpse of the universe. 
As the universe is always looking to manifest and to reveal itself, it gives to each one of us the ability to seize it. 
It inspires us and impregnates us by the visit of the nine muses, Apsaras and infinite sources and circumstances of life to give us the means to express it. 
 It inspires us. 
The inspiration and the artist are like a bedside lamp. 
The electricity and the bulb of light represent the inspiration and the shade is the artist. 
In order to let the light manifest itself in the world, the artist has to lower his ego and let the light passing through him. 
We are just the messengers, never the message itself. We have to carry it with love.
Poetry in this matter had played a pivotal role in the ancient mythologies, past theogonies and so on.
 Poetry was the transmission belt between immortals and mortals; it carried knowledge, wisdom and the will of the gods. 
It is only with the ancient Greeks after the vehement criticism of Plato against Homer that poetry began to give way to philosophy.
But the need for poetry is much deeper in us than Plato wanted to afford it. 
Poetry is an emotional understanding of the reality. 
If Oedipus had been a poet, he would have maybe felt in a better way the inconvenience of his life… 
Poetry is a gift. It is a gift of words.
It is not a clever play with words, but a deep and intimate discovery of the hidden meaning of life in words.
Whatever the gift! Whatever the talent!
There is nothing more illusory than a talent or a gift which is not shared. 
Poetry itself does not walk away easily from that.
What is whispered through poetry, what is drawn with words as poem were meant to be shared. 
Poetry that stays on the shelves of one’s heart is like a sun that will never rise, that will never bring the light, that will never know the day. 
There is no sun in such poetry. 
Poems that can not cross the dam of one’s lips are just like a dried out waterfall,
with no foam, no water crashing from the height, with no rainbow to display.
These poems are without colours. They are therefore not a rainbow.
Through poetry, through poems, we share life. We are not afraid of dreaming.
Dreaming about men, about tomorrow, about our children, about our friends, about diversity, about being a human.
As human beings, we are all like lands which give to others what time 
has blessed it with. In doing so, we are receiving from the other too. 
What time will provide them with to fertilize our arid lands; lands not yet arable somewhere within us, but yet lands full of promise.
In that respect, to have a gift is  being seeded by the universe itself, it is to carry it within ourselves, to find a beautiful way to let it shine in the world and reveal itself. It is being a seed of light.
Moreover, we were not seeded with the same seed, so that we still need other seeds to complete the work of the universe within us and within others. 
We can write. We can paint. We can sing. We can dance. 
But we can not all perform,  all the gifts that the universe possess. 
Poetry will always live side by side with music. Even though poetry is music within music.
Paul Malimba. 
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On Poetry and Vulnerability

Writing poetry, it is drawing with words. Words woven, moreover words interwoven in our feelings, within our beings, on our close intimacy and far relations to self, others and the universe. All drafts, all sketches, all attempts are worth the try. Because they testify the ferment of our inner life. 
It comes down not only to draw a mountain as an object but also what it arouses deep in us. Similarly to draw with words a river, or a lake. It is not only drawing but also diving into its waters with our beings and feelings. It is also inviting others to swim with us, to dive within us, to discover what we meant to share, what we felt when we drew.
Sharing the way of words, being intimate with words in the way words touch us, in the way words turn us upside down
by little sketches, by little drafts, by little attempts.
This is poetry.
But Poetry has an even closer relationship to the beauty and all its expressions. However not all the expressions of  beauty are written and therefore not all the poems in the universe are contained in written poems but in many other shapes, many other clothing which are waiting to be said, to be expressed etc.  John Fowles, in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, stated “We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words”
Poetry thus becomes a profound exposure of self to truths, feelings, life, values, time and love… This openness through self exposure is possible by touching and becoming familiar with our own vulnerability.
We are living in a technical era, very fond of efficiency. The jargon of scientific views from which we are building our world is a language of the mind that is at work into things and strengthened in the aridity of scientific concepts. In a world that is always productive and effective, vulnerability seems to become and pass as a weakness.
Nonetheless, there is such beauty into vulnerability that only love can embrace. We build upon our vulnerability. It does not make us lesser in merit than any other virtues. To say it with Kant “Beauty is what pleases without concept”. It is the same beauty that is the primary object of poetry itself and all its expressions written or not and also of love. Poetry, love and beauty are thus looking at vulnerability to start to open up.
 
Love within itself is not rigour in principle, nor lack of compassion. It is infinitely an opening, a movement. Its opening shows it vulnerable. Its movement  makes it understandable, mostly human. But the infinite plasticity of love is in its vulnerable face. Love is built on a ground of vulnerability. It is the vulnerability within love that allows us, to bud, to grow, even to love.
 
Only powerful people by decree are haunted by the idea that one day they are discovered vulnerable. So vulnerability is not a weakness within love. But just what Consolidates it. It is the other way around of love, the look-alike of strength and  power. Strength or love that will not consolidate themselves in acts virtues, as well as power which drifts from that kind of love are without vision. That strength based on that love, that power founded on that strength are unfounded. They may be necessary . . . But they are a love without intrinsic opening, without movement. They both succumb victims of themselves.
To be aware of our own vulnerability, may help us to turn it  into an asset. It is to allow an opening within us, a movement that carry us. Because love which opens itself, always opens itself in the world, where it exposed itself. Therefore  it cannot remain unchanged. It now knows that beyond it the world exists.
It is just a consciousness in the world among many others at work. To know our own vulnerability,  it is to strengthen ourselves in the events of life. It is also to be combative in the face of adversity.
Because hardship, adversity are part of life. It is also an act of deep compassion to the suffering of others. It’s coming to understand that the truth is in time. Being a human being, it is to be, a fragile being. Fragile as a truth, vulnerable as a thought, as  a vision, Which have to deepen in life.  Being just a thought, an idea, a vision, of  a vulnerable love, which are strengthened, which are empowered in time.
Poetry in its effort to seek to look at the expression of the beauty is not fully the expression of the mind but mostly of the heart to put into words the vulnerable heart of the poet. The soul of the poet is similar to the surface of a lake, its quietness reflects the life in the depth. If anything is changed, it is the whole calm that is altered. The colours of the lakes are due to the sky, to the presence of the algae or to the reflection of the sunlight.
It is in all these meanings in relation to the beauty, within the articulation of its expression which feeds upon the vulnerability of the poet that poetry comes to existence. All good poetry is a plural poetry in its composition as in its reading. We all have an acquaintance of this beauty without concept. It would be a mistake to try to make it equal to all, especially that its appreciation and evaluation are given  to us by our time and our culture.

Poetry and the vulnerability of the poet work together to allow us to have an emotional understanding of what is going on. It is touching from inside.

Thus Orpheus had been able to sedate the Cerberus by the power of its musical instrument. But before touching others, the poet is touched first by the muses. To say it with Bob Marley in his song,TrenchTown Rock, “ One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain”
Written by Paul Ma
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