Laughing & Crying.

A few years ago, I finished reading a novel that had me laughing and crying throughout. To this day, I adore that story and re-read it from time to time. I hesitate to recommend it because I’m a little selfish with it, and am just snooty enough to think it might be wasted on the general public (it’s definitely a pearl, and you know the rest of the metaphor). Especially since the backdrop of the story is fly-fishing in the Pacific Northwest. But it’s not about fly-fishing.So in the interest of self disclosure, it’s “The River Why” by David James Duncan. My close friends have heard me talk about it.But the point of this isn’t for me to recommend this book, review it or further disparage your personal tastes in literature, as I’m sure my pejorative tenor above accomplishes. That’d be uncivilized–though within reason. But I digress…Anyhow, that novel was the first bit of art where I realized I actually CRAVED that range of emotional connection to a narrative. I WANT to be driven to tears and erupt in laughter while so wrapped up in the mystery that is this thing called “story.”Those outbursts on either end of the spectrum speak to the power of the “work” of art (whether it’s a novel, some other writing, a film, a performance, etc.) and more so, the capability of the artist BEHIND the work. Their ability to use their unique perspective on a subject and expertly cram it into a “medium,” then SQUEEZE me until I have an emotional reaction, is a phenomenal part of being a human. I love it. I seek it out. I love exposing others to art that moves me. Come to think of it, EVERYBODY loves doing this. “Hey, you NEED to listen to this song!” or “Man, you HAVE to read THIS!”God obviously wired me this way but in a much more important and GREATER context, he wired artists/art/creativity/audiences/emotions together in such a manner to not only bring beauty into the world, but to usher TRUTH into our awareness–and into the pool of our common, shared experiences. Art–regardless of it’s medium (music, words, pictures, and beyond)–becomes THE medium for God’s TRUTH to pervade our lives. From well-crafted Sunday sermons to a couplet in a popular song, we have moments where we say, “YES! That’s TRUE!” Good stuff.And tonight, I needed to just drag that idea out onto the stage for a special performance. It’s not MY idea, it’s not MY “work of art,” it’s just a discovery of some squirrelly truth on the subject of art.Because, if I keep this need inside myself–the need to continutally traverse the gamut of emotions from laughing to crying–it’s just a matter of time before I actually and quite literally go crazy.But if I can get it outside of myself, and actually SHARE it, ironically, I could be labeled something much more complimentary. I could even earn a living from it!Amazing.

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