Napa County’s Poet Laureate, Jeremy Benson, is back with a brand new Artizenship blog post.
Artizenship: The Blues
Man, I tell you what. January has been a drag.
I’m not sure what or why. It can’t really be blamed on the weather—not in the usual sense, not in the I’m-a-midwesterner-living-in-California-and-I-know-what-it’s-like-not-to-see-the-sun-for-5-months-and-this-is-not-that sense—though possibly in the other sense, the sense that feels it ought to be raining. Are you not angry with how g.d. happy the sunshine is supposed to make you feel? The sun needs to turn that upside-down frown around, be sorrowful with us for a week or two.
I can’t be speaking only for myself—tell me I’m not alone in this—when I say I feel the gravity of this last month in my belly like a stone.
I don’t mean to send invitations to this pity party. I mean, I don’t expect anyone to come, anyway. But still. It’s not meant to be a party. What I do mean to do is talk about the blues, and their relationship to art, and creativity.
For me, this particular strain of blues has meant creativity comes slow. This blog entry has taken me weeks of staring at a blank screen and days of procrastinating before I could even approach it, before I could begin to see its shape in my mind. In the lethargy of malaise, I crave mindlessness and distraction.
But that’s not always the case! Sometimes a depression—I mean a casual, localized depression, really more of an emotional recession than a full on depression—will lead me to create soulful, passionate poems of longing and remorse. I’m not the only one—look at Pablo Picasso’s Blue Period. Or, you know, The Blues. Look at wine: the best wine comes from the most stressed-out grapes. Or so I hear.
What about you? When you are bluesy, do you tend to express it through your art? Or not?
For me, right now, this period of blue is not necessarily a productive time. Yet one thing I know is that while searching for something mindless, I find myself also searching for something charged—a thing to grab my attention and my imagination, a thing to spark the fire of creativity again. Nothing yet has fulfilled that hope. I haven’t found it.
What have you found?
– Jeremy Benson