May 23, 2008

A Bard of the Order of Fili

The bard was “a tribal poet-singer skilled in composing and reciting verses on heroes and their deeds.” [1] With further study, particularly regarding various encyclopedias’ discourses on Irish bard tradition, one discovers that there were perhaps different classes of such poets. The class of filid (old Irish singular: “fili”), a term under some scrutiny as to its true meaning, is commonly applied to those poets, sometimes viewed as philosophers or counselors, generally associated with the early Christian Church in Ireland. A bard, especially exemplified by Stephen Lawhead’s character depiction of Myrddin Emrys (i.e. Merlin), is essentially an artistic leader, and it is with such an idea that I closely identify.

I am an artist, and I would generally expand this concept by classifying myself as one who follows the approach of Romanticism. Romanticism is “an artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 18th century and characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions.” [2]

I hope to not merely express myself, or even to stand out from society to some degree, as many artists seem to do, but rather to be a servant leader of society as I pursue Truth through the artistic lens. My writing has been heavily inspired by the fictional works of J.R.R. Tolkien, one of the most renowned Romantic-styled high fantasy writers; but I have also been significantly influenced by the works of Chaim Potok, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Leo Tolstoy in their insightful and brilliant exploration of the human psyche and condition. These writers have offered me, however great or small, some deeper understanding of how to write and significantly reach the world. It is about sacrifice, and not self-indulgence. I, therefore, write not only to entertain with creative storytelling, but to also deeply explore the various facets of humanity and the world, to offer thoughts and questions to recipients, and hopefully be an open vessel through which they can journey toward Truth. I do not believe that people, aside from Jesus Christ, will live to see the journey to its end (i.e. find all the answers); but I do have faith that the journey will be fruitful and full of rich life and memory. This is my purpose as an artist, whether with my writing, my drawing, my photography, or my music—to offer some aspects of my journey toward Truth, with all its joy and pain along the way, to those gracious enough to receive my work.

Though I am ever critical of my own work, plagued by a tendency toward perfectionism; I am drawn to my art for its humble return to nature and to the heart of people. All the art forms I pursue are essentially united together, like threads of a intricate tapestry. Being out in nature, and attempting to capture the wondrous beauty of light, color, and space with a camera, as well as being amidst the diversity of humanity, inspires me to attempt to recreate such revelations with the written word if possible. I embrace the challenges such tasks require. My fictional writing and drawing complement each other in that often one will inspire the other (i.e. a character or location drawing will find its way into the story, or the opposite). My music serves as an expansion of my poetic inclination, yet attempts to exceed the written word by stirring certain heart chords that only music can hope to reach. I am drawn to my art because it strives to be free from the prison of cliché, especially religious, and to find new forms of expressing timeless Truth. This is part of my service to humanity—to draw recipients away from life’s often stressful distractions back to the True meaning of life. I work to lead people to a community of expression, to vocation, and to Love that are exemplified by the life of Jesus in The Gospel. That is my hope and the purpose for which I strive. To God be the glory. AMEN.

[1] Merriam-Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition.
[2] American Heritage Dictionary.

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