Just as civilizations are built and then built upon and built upon again and again, so it is with language and music and art and science. There was the creating of new ways. And now, we build upon those “ways” — we have rules we follow because they were established before us, and we build on those, and sometimes we throw them out, and sometimes we morph them, and sometimes we break them gently and ungently. Language, art, science, mathematics, the creative endeavor, is a living breathing thing, a malleable thing.
I had planned to write another ‘cleaning up our manuscript’ post, but last night I was thinking about Rules, and about the creative endeavor, about where we’ve been and where we are and where we will go. I thought about those who came before, and those who will be remembered. I wondered, who will be most remembered twenty, thirty, forty, one-hundred, two-hundred years from now? Do we have the ability to create Classics, or Firsts, or Pathways, in literature, music, art? Or have the molds been made and then placed behind thick glass to preserve them and we can only hope to find some spot in an ever-expanding crowd of creativity?
There was a time before Rules. There was a time when writers, artists, architects, dancers, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, etcetera, made the rules, because they trod where no one else had ever been before. It’s difficult now to find the places where no one has been, which is why there are “The Classics,” and why we have those literary (and other creative) giants/icons who are held up as larger than life, their images on cups and t-shirts and postage stamps, their works examples for those who follow. One glance at most of these images and you know who they are. One mention of a phrase and one knows who said it or wrote it, and it is deemed brilliant, never to be touched again by another – right? Are we creating our own paths, or new ones? Are brilliant works and new paths simply swallowed by the glut of All That Out There Everywhere?
Who will find their face on a cup? Who will be caricatured on a t-shirt? Who will be our icons and giants? Or will we hold onto our iconic giants, those who cleared a path for all the rest of us so that the struggle isn’t quite so difficult . . . ?
I’ll be back tomorrow with “cleaning up our manuscripts . . . “