i really liked their debut album, so when i heard they had a second out, i went to itunes and starting previewing the songs.
i was five songs into the album and fairly confident i was going to buy it when i heard two lines rhyming modest and hottest.
and there, right there: that’s the point at which i was done.
i don’t know which part frustrated me more: the fact that womanhood was again being reduced to the ratio of skin revealed versus concealed or the fact that recycled cliches were being lauded as art.
i am an artist. i don’t ever want to point a finger at another artist and tell them their work isn’t good enough.
but somewhere, somehow, somebody has to put their foot down on mediocrity.
two someones did that for me last week.
i wrote what, for me, is the hardest kind of writing. it took me a few hours, which was longer than i had anticipated or bargained for. i sent it off pretty confidently for a few friends to look over.
the first someone told me nicely but firmly i hadn’t accomplished my purpose. the second someone told me just as nicely but more bluntly: “that isn’t you.”
so i rewrote it, four and a half hours in the doing, typing and backspacing and cutting and pasting.
there is always a recognizable moment, for the artist, when the work takes a definitive shape and confirms, this. this is what I was made to do.
it’s when i saw the tricolon i knew i’d arrived.
we’ve let ourselves settle, friends.
we’ve let ourselves settle for overused lyrics, easy rhymes, traditional melodies.
we’ve let ourselves settle for predictable plotlines, botched history, poor technique.
we’ve let ourselves settle for following someone else’s style and technique instead of developing our own.
we’ve let ourselves settle for easy.
we’ve let ourselves settle. period.
dig deep. find the fervor. you were made neither to make mediocrity nor another’s work. the Spirit’s strong in you and you will run the race He’s set before.
art will not be easy. if you are an artist, you will know frustration well.
and we are all artists. for He is the potter and we are the clay and He is making vessels to shine a light that cannot be hidden.
let’s make art with our songs and our stories and our brushstrokes.
and let’s make art with our prayers and our service and our worship. let’s make art with our praise and our speech and our welcomes.
let’s stop settling for easy, for mediocre, for cliché.
and let’s make art.