“Flaming Heart” by Gary Godby. Image found on Imagekind.com

Burn Notice: He(art) to He(art) Series

-By BM Blogger @anaiskin

“If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.” — Mik Everett

For my professing believers of the Gospel, can we just ignore the sacrilegious sentiment for a few minutes? I’m examining the creative writer’s ability to immortalize our lovers, specifically those of the past. Is it fair to say that any person who consents to a relationship with us is signing up for public humiliation if the romance goes awry? Is anything really sacred after the breakup? Are we ingenious or just insensitive for writing about our intimate partners?

Isn’t our writing just as endearing as pet names and permanent tattoos? After all, why wouldn’t we honor something that was disappointing for us to lose? How many ballads (insert fictional first name of past lover) have we bawled our bloodshot eyes to? Did we not feel a sense of comradery with that vocalist? Should we actually be praising their past lovers for inspiring such brilliance? Without their heartbreak, what would be used to commemorate our very own?

Well Done or Medium Rare: I’d say that you want to make sure this thing is dead. This is not to be misconstrued for cannibalism or violence. I’m referring to the relationship. If you’re still considering reconciliation, you may want to rethink hitting the “publish” button until you’ve made a decision. Sometimes, we’re merciless when our emotions are still “raw.” I’m learning that it isn’t just about censorship. Some things really aren’t necessary. They don’t contribute to the literary piece. They don’t develop a plot or help readers understand the context of a story. We probably won’t omit the salacious details. I’m not sure that we always should. But, I do believe in being merciful.

Burnt Offering: It may seem like generic psychobabble to write a letter to those who we’ve been involved with. But it isn’t about the actual correspondence. It’s the opportunity for closure. The letter (or whatever act of creative expression you prefer) allows uninterrupted communication about our grievances. We shouldn’t immediately mail it. Similarly, I’d like to think we’d consider the impact to those involved by making our art public. If we decide to spare them for sake of privacy and human decency, maybe we can consider burning it. I don’t mean actually committing arson. I’m referring to canceling a creative project. Or, at least waiting until we’re not so prone to complete verbal annihilation.

Ashes or Fertilizer: The power of the pen gives us executive control. But we can’t control people. We also can’t predict the outcome of a relationship. Maybe that’s why we decided to be writers; to control the plot twist in our lives.We can’t create fictionalized characters to avoid confronting interpersonal relationships. We need that conflict to examine ourselves. Is it possible that we put the “characters” of our literary work under such scrutiny because we are unwilling to confront some of our very own shortcomings? Is our dialogue a way of compensating for our ineffective communication in a relationship?

There are some artists who rely on stimulants, narcotics, and hallucinogens to inspire them. Are we perhaps addicted to the emotional high of dysfunctional relationships? Are unsuitable partners our drug of choice? Do we fear that we can only create in strife? Where are the artists creating from reciprocity, mutual respect, and boundaries? Are we doing the work necessary to not just complete projects? Are we striving to be complete people?