Separating art and life

So this is something that I’ve always thought about. Can we possibly celebrate an artist’s talent and forget about his crimes? One of the most talented musicians to ever do it is R. Kelly. People may not like him because of the crimes he’s committed or the allegations of him messing with young girls, but there is no denying his talent. The man is a gifted genius. I was feeling nostalgic last night as I listened to some of his most popular songs like “I Believe I Can Fly,” “When A Woman’s Fed Up,” and “Step in the Name of Love.” All of those songs had me singing at the top of my lungs with pure emotion. No matter what you think about R. Kelly as a person there’s no denying his talent. Also another person I would put on the “tortured artist” list would the rapper DMX. During his time DMX was one of the biggest rappers in the 90s/2000s era and he pretty much ruined his career with drugs and constantly getting in trouble with the law, and I’m not going to lie. It gets me upset to see talent like that wasted. DMX is another artist that just had pure talent, and when I get the notion to go back and listen to some of his songs I just think to myself like “Man, it’s such a shame.” I always hope for a comeback from either R. Kelly and DMX.

Thought provoking statement

“The death of an artist is to get a degree and start teaching.”~Cedric Baker

*When I did my interview with Cedric Baker one of the questions I asked him was what has his journey been like as an artist. I was building off of his art exhibit theme, which is entitled “A Painter’s Journey.” I wanted to know more about what his journey was like getting to the point he is at now. Like all artist, he said he struggled to make money. As many people know the arts is something that one can be passionate about and that’s all we as artists want to do. All we want to do is create what we love, but then we get stuck in the dilemma of whether to pursue our dreams or go with a practical job to make enough money to provide for ourselves. That’s the age old struggle Cedric Baker dealt with as well when he was trying to make it as an artist. He talked about having to work a full time job because he had bills and he said as an artist that’s hard because you can’t be 100% focused on your art when you’re working a 9 to 5 job. Then he also made that above statement about a degree and teaching being the death of an artist. Although, I think he was putting more emphasis on the teaching part because he is also an academic artist. He went to school for art and his discipline was in painting. I agree with him on the teaching part to a degree. I think it would be difficult to teach and also completely be committed to what you really want to do. There have been many folks who have tried to push me into teaching just because I have an English degree and that’s not something that I’m passionate about. I tried to get passionate about it, but my heart has always been with writing. That’s all I want to do. Like I said in one of my previous posts, when I conducted my interview with Baker I walked out of that interview feeling so accomplished. I felt like it was another sign telling me that THIS is what I need and want to be doing. The interview went that well! On the other hand, don’t get me wrong. Teaching is an admirable profession. It’s a way to pass on your love of a particular subject to another generation and see what they do with it. I just don’t think teaching is for me. There have been many people who have said I would be a great teacher, but if I’m not completely 100% passionate about it I don’t think it’s a field that I should go into. I’ve realized that I should stop listening to other people and do what I know is right for me no matter how long it takes me to land that job I really want. Cedric definitely gave me some encouragement that day. It doesn’t matter if you’re not getting paid for it as long as you’re doing what you love.

My chapbook

Ok, so I am a huge procrastinator and I have been wanting to work on my own chapbook of poems. For those who don’t know a chapbook is pretty much a booklet of poems, usually no more than 40 pages. I started putting my poems together and then I stopped, but I want to start back up tomorrow. I already have my theme for my poems. It’s going to be called “Scars.” I think that title is very fitting and goes with my theme because most of my poetry deals a lot with dealing with emotional scars and some physical scars. The idea of my theme being “Scars” just came naturally, as naturally as my poetry came to me. I tried doing everything online and by using Microsoft Word and putting all of my poems in an electronic folders but tomorrow I plan on doing everything old school and using pen and paper to write out all of poems that I want to include in my chapbook. I think it’ll be easier that way. Then I guess my next step will be to find a publisher. If any people out there know any good publishers I would be forever grateful for the guidance!

A Dream Deferred

“What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?”~Langston Hughes

*This is one of my favorite poems by the highly esteemed Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes. This may be one of Hughes’ most famous poems and I especially love this poem in connection with the play, A Raisin in the Sun, which got its name from this poem. I feel like this poem really sets up the story of the play and the plot of the play is really built around this poem. It’s all about dreams. Essentially, what happens when you don’t follow your dreams? Based off of this poem it seems like Hughes’ is trying to convey the message that not following your dreams can have unpleasant consequences. When you think about your dreams and you stew over the fact that you can’t get anywhere, the weight of it all can be maddening. In the play this reaction is most notable in the character Walter Younger who had dreams of going into business for himself by using his dead father’s insurance money. He became obsessed. It’s almost like the dreams that he had were eating him up inside. I think this is a very good poem to reflect on. Tell me what are your thoughts on this poem? Here I’ve posted a link to the poem