Confused Misfit

I love when two different resources cross my path around the same time and seem to communicate a similar or resonating message. In other words, I love common threads.

During this past week, it was through public radio and public television that I was reminded of the beautiful otherness, even the chaos and mess, of enjoying and contributing to the world of art…

“Confused” – On a drive home from northern Iowa on Saturday night, my husband and I tuned into Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and the Live Wire radio program, a non-profit venture to acquaint artists with their audiences, and vice versa. I was particularly taken with program guest Roger Reeves, a poet whose latest collection On Paradise will be released soon.

Reeves proposed that there’s a genre of incredible art that sparks a feeling of confusion, a sense of not knowing what we’re seeing or reading or experiencing in any sense. This is what produces exhilaration, joy, appreciation.

Reeves went on to say that the process is often just as confusing for the artist as the interpreting is for the audience. There are times, he said, when he writes something only to come back to it months later with any kind of understanding of what was surfacing through his sub-consciousness. There are also times he gains no understanding whatsoever, but this doesn’t discount the artistry of his poem.

“Misfit” – I mentioned the “American Masters” series on PBS in my last post, and I have since watched two-and-a-half episodes, the half episode being about Eva Hesse. “The true artist is also the true personal misfit,” she wrote in her journals. In other words, what made her work and perhaps her whole personality especially interesting and rich—and simultaneously sad, some might say—was Eva’s feeling “different, alone, and apart from others.”

Though the world pressures us to glamorize sameness and to follow the crowd, the making and appreciation of good art seem to celebrate unlikeness and the option to travel narrower paths. So feel free to call me a “confused misfit.” I’ll take it as a compliment in my creative journey.



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