2 weeks ago · Bob Weathers · 0 comments
by Charles Bukowski
style is the answer to everything —
a fresh way to approach a dull or a dangerous thing.
to do a dull thing with style is preferable
to doing a dangerous thing without it.
Joan of Arc had style,
John the Baptist, Christ, Socrates,
Caesar, Garcia Lorca.
style is the difference,
a way of doing,
a way of being done.
6 heron standing quietly in a pool of water
or you walking out of the bathroom naked
without seeing me.
(from Los Angeles Times Magazine, February 2, 1986;
original in Mockingbird Wish Me Luck)
Creativity both requires and induces a deep sense of mindful focus. In this state of mind and soul there is most often a palpable lessening of my sense of ordinary self-consciousness. When jazz pianist Keith Jarrett extols about how the music “plays” him, rather than the reverse, he’s speaking “style,” as in the poet’s parallel description.
But what then is style?
Understood here, style freshens up anything it touches. Even boring moments are transformed into something new and interesting. (I use the latter, sadly overused term, “interesting,” in its Latin root sense: “inter” = between and “esse” = essence; hence, between essences.)
Style mandates a kind of surrender, not in weakness or resignation, but rather, with full courage into something bigger than simply my ego-self. The creative moment always feels like opening up into a bigger, deeper, never absent river of abundance.
Great creative spirits down through history — Joan of Arc, Christ, Socrates — all held one thing in common: the capacity to give over to that which is beyond themselves, even if at the cost of physical life itself. (“Death, where is thy sting, where is thy victory…”)
Style, or creativity, is less about what I do, than how I do it. Or to put it more pointedly: it’s less about doing than about “being done.” (Again, Keith Jarrett’s “being played.”)
Nature gives us immediate entry into style, everywhere we look. “6 heron” work just fine. As do trees in their stateliness, the song of distant crows, even the overcast sky, just outside my window, on a December morn.
And what about sexuality, informed by “beginner’s mind,” where sensual beauty and pleasure are witnessed, experienced, given as pure reverence?
May today provide opportunity for each of us to inhabit, no, be inhabited by, the creative impulse which courses through the mindful ones. Here then is to a day touched by style…