A Whole Art

On artistic integrity.

Many poets aren’t poets, Merton says, for the same reason so many religious are not saints: they never get to becoming the version they are meant to be, as created by the circumstances of their own lives.

It always seems more attractive, somehow, to be some other artist––the point being, one you can point to, already formed, as opposed to––what is this, but so much blurred confusion and dissonant noise?

The work of the artist comes from staying with the mess even as the dust settles, even as more debris accumulates, to rescue a faint but still-living music from the wreck.

***

Inspired by this morning’s reading, Thomas Merton’s short essay “Integrity” in New Seeds of Contemplation.