Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Art of Being Eccentric

I enjoyed and am inspired by this article about David Bazan, the singer/songwriter for the Christian rock group, Pedro The Lion. I am encouraged by the fact that someone with as eccentric a take on Christianly as mine (though not identical of course, or where would the eccentricity be?) can still be accepted as a Christian though his message and its presentation is controversial and quite shocking to some. There is hope for me to continue to self-identify as Christian if this is so.

I would like to hear his music now and especially read his lyrics. He said he is inspired by one of my fave writers and early influences on my own artistic vision, Flannery O’Connor. I also took to heart some of his insight into the act of creating his art. He admitted to at times feeling pressured by others to do a certain thing or to do it a certain way, ostensibly because it was more Christian by someone else’s take anyway. But he said he has learned that when he complies with such requests the results are not as good--as inspired or inspiring. He gets his best results when he lets his own unconscious work the material and then speaks from his heart:

“I started to put a lot more stock in the idea of writing being a process of discovery rather than a process of communicating some concrete idea that you have…I believe that if there’s something that I feel strongly [about], that it’ll find its way out in the most appropriate way that I couldn’t hope to manipulate. That stuff tends to come out automatically in a lot more pleasing nature.”

This is something I’ve had to learn the hard way too. It’s not just the voice of Christian nay-sayers I’ve had to learn to ignore in order to write my stories and some of what I write here on Joystory. It is as hard to self-identify as Christian among the liberal-progressive communities online and elsewhere as it is to self-identify as liberal among my fundamentalist Christian family. I don’t fit into anybody’s box. Nor do I want to. Learning to be OK with eccentricity has been a hard path for me but it has informed my writing and my stories in ways that make me grateful that path was given to me.

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