The Great "Ah-Ha"

Creativity and spirituality are intimately linked: The place from which I create is the place I most closely touch God; the piece of God within us inspires us to create; the Source of all things is the finest and first artist. We all have many gifts to share-including a creative spirit-but some of us find our truest gift calls us to the arts.

Although a life as an artist is rich and fulfilling, it can also be hard and insecure. Heated congressional debates paint the arts as unnecessary, wasteful, and even unwholesome. To the contrary, the arts are an invaluable vehicle for conscience and commentary, linked completely with the personal, political, and spiritual. The arts enrich and define our communities, and thus are deserving of strong national support.

Artists spend much of their lives searching for the "great ah-ha," that piece of light or thought that comes from ourselves and sometimes from the divine. We then spend the rest of our time trying to put this inspiration into words, song, dance, paint, or other form. When a piece of the truth, a revelation, is discovered by the person experiencing the artwork, the communication is complete, and the light is endlessly passed along.

I struggle endlessly to balance the search for revelation and inspiration with the joy of work and the journey, as well as my personal need for expression with my desire to create something of benefit for the community. I read once that all of art is a huge lake, and that each artist is a tributary leading into it. Mozart, Shakespeare, and O'Keefe are the great rivers in history; their effect is grand and evident. But many other water sources fill the lake.

My job as an artist has nothing to do with whether I am a great river or small tributary. My work is staying true to my course and filling the lake. What a great job description: I'm searching for the great "ah-ha," and filling the lake.

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 1996
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