Fear as Art
The notion of art is highly subjective. I coyly call myself a writer, though in my heart I doubt it’s true. I certainly don’t call myself an artist. Is this self deprecation? Is this humility? No. If I have the courage to type the real answer, I first must have the courage to dig deep into my tortured soul. But it’s hard to have courage, when I’m so full of fear.
I fear artists. Not just because they dress better than I do, but they seem to burn with a passion sadly missing from my life. Their art drives the breath in their lungs and the words on their lips. These words I’m awkwardly cobbling together feel shallow by comparison. This fear leads to mistrust. In my heart I don’t trust others vying for the same praise. I secretly hope they fail because it will allow me to justify my failures. Actually, I’m giving myself too much credit. I root for their failure because it will allow me to justify the apathy keeping me from creating art of my own.
The truth of that last sentence hurts.
I’m afraid if I stand next to another artist, people will see the truth. They will see how awkward I am. They will see my lack of confidence. They will see the charlatan and snake oil salesman. I’m selling them false bravado and artificial artistic courage. I don’t have the courage to write words that topple governments and break barriers. I don’t have the endurance to suffer rejection and humiliation. I retreat to the shadows, imagining published jewels, while true artists are slaving away in the mines.
My overwhelming fear has also spawned a potent critic. I’m overly critical of other artists. I mock them – behind their backs, of course. I obviously lack the courage to engage in person, but I’m a monster behind a keyboard, though, I promise you that. This venom I spew is hollow. It’s not real. My barbed words are nothing more than jealousy manifested as disdain. I ache to have the courage to produce art. I long to believe my ideas are worthwhile. I pray for blinders. I want to be the fighter that gets knocked down but gets back up.
I’m still down, though. I've yet to get back up.
So is this a story of redemption? Is this when I turn it all around, drop a big but (you like them, and cannot lie), and giggle out a, “Gotcha!” Nope. It’s just an honest confession. It’s a confession to anyone listening. Perhaps it’s purely selfish. Maybe this is what I needed to write. Maybe this is a letter to myself, and maybe I needed to self delude myself into believing there was an audience.
Either way, I’m getting words on a page. Today, I’ve over come resistance. Today, maybe I’ve sprinkled a little art. Maybe I’ve dangled a little nugget of understanding or a modicum of motivation. Maybe not. Maybe I’m just banging on some upturned buckets in a subway. Maybe I’m that person with ten likes on a facebook page, or the author with a booth at the fair selling a self-published book. I’m probably not any of those artists, either. Those artists have courage.
Me? I’m full of fear.
Christian is an aging lad living on a couple acres in Northern Kentucky. He
is a proud father, a reluctant distance runner, spirited driver, and
purveyor of mediocre blog posts. He is best known for his constant search
for the six fingered man, as well as wild and inaccurate statements. Many
claim his sarcasm is a coping mechanism used to distract readers from his
hatred of writing bios. You can find more of his writings at