6/20/2006

Vain Attempts at Practicality

Margaret writes:

Asian parents do not want to let their kids become rock stars, because the future is uncertain. But isn't everyone's? We all live in uncertainty, we don't even know where our next breath is coming from. Why bother with vain attempts at practicality?

Still, it is hard to argue with the overwhelming finality of an immigrant parent's resolve. There is something about their unwavering stance that makes us want to abandon our dreams rather than oppose them. We look at white kids with guarded jealousy, because we assume they are "free to be you and me" while we toil under the blazing hot sun of expectation. As we offer up our lives to guilt rather than satisfaction, our Asian American mouths are filled with bitterness, which slowly sets and hardens into regret, as we remain another generation invisible outside the worlds of medicine, money and computers.


Choosing to make art is a kind of soul-retrieval, of recognizing the ossified Self as illusion, payment for family harmony, yet as unreal as any gollum or changeling can be (with all due respect, of course, to Gollums and Changelings who are altogether different than the thing of which I speak). Perhaps that is why it feels so familiar yet such a strain to make art, be Art. The bilocation of the spirit, the Soul Walk, drummed from instinct rather than from within the safety of an elder's circle, spins the mind and upturns emotion. Are we outside ourselves trying to get back in or outside looking for our Self?

The process of compromise is shrinking, the replacement of flesh with stone deposited with good intentions - the preservation of something precious. Like Box in Logan's Run who no longer preserves fish and sea plants, but people trying to escape the City, to find Sanctuary. Their drive to be free is sacred and in a misconception of the Sacred, Box represents the drive to preserve that sacredness in the stillness of ice, effectively killing it and undoing the purpose of holding things sacred.

Growing, moving beyond the preserving acts of our parents is at once disloyal and affirming of their own hope for a better life. It is acknowledgement that the world is not safe and defiance in the face of uncertainty. This is why Art is a Sacred thing, for it touches on a mystery beyond our social structures, links us with That Which Is, Was, and Will Be after all the things we humans make are gone. Our tiny kingdoms with which we gamble our lives and the lives of others are by no means insignificant, but they are limited. And it is in the space of Limitlessness where Art exists, where our True-ness thrives.

It is Grace. It is Love. And Art our dance with It.

No comments: