The Embers of My Intellectual and Creative Fires

I have written a number of times about how my favorite novel, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, changed my life, but seem to never have thought about how it also gave birth to an intellectual fire that has sadly dissipated in the last few years. For two decades now I have been consumed with the desire for knowledge, and to impart what I glean from all that learning. I have endeavored since my youth to write myself into poetry and prose as well. I have been an instrument of the divine spirit of creation but as of the last few years the intellectual and creative fires that have filled the vessel of my body have been progressively weakening and are near their extinction.

I remember all too well never being able to get enough of art, literature, philosophy, and religion all throughout college until just four, five years ago. Then not only did my personal life begin to take on a different shape, but history and politics also began to slowly take root in the soil of my mind as new branches of knowledge. This was not just work related but also directly grounded in seeing how deeply the world has changed in the last decade alone, even longer. I want to know how we got here, to this critical, code-blue moment in time, and it is more complex than anyone can truly grasp. I may hunger for this knowledge, but it is a knowledge I do not want. I miss the days of my ecstatic love for fiction and poetry, for looking at art, and engaging in philosophical questions about God and man as well as thinking about meaning in literary texts and debating creative writing styles and techniques.

The price of adulthood is the loss of youth and drowning in endless responsibility. For me it also seems to be an irreversible loss of creative drive and imagination as well as a desire to no longer know. The loss of the ivory tower as a university student and teacher has shown me that the passion that once burned within me from my teenage years onward, that had to voice itself almost daily in poetry or prose, has waned and left behind nothing but mounds of embers and ash. Without a concrete outlet through which to consistently express my ideas and desires and others to daily commune with on the intellectual and artistic level I have lost my soul, the philosopher-poet I once was. I no longer know who I am anymore. I have become what all the have-nots become if they do not pay attention along the way: a proletarian automaton that cannot get off the wheel of work to breathe in and find himself, his light, again. The light and the fire have gone out; now there is only a cold, dead darkness inside me.

I used to believe, but that belief was based on numerous illusions. I no longer have any illusions; it is this truth that I must make poetry and prose with, but have not found the path down which I can travel to do so, to use this grave loss of illusions to create art with, to reignite the passion, the fire, that sustained me from fourteen to thirty-four, when for twenty years I wrote without experiencing an excess of writer’s block and seemed to always have time. But it is more than just not having time to write; I can always find the time, someway, somehow. Rather, it is the lack of desire and creativity, which is itself a vicious circle. And this “lack” of time and lack of desire and creative imagination stems from my lost illusions, from no longer having any faith in the human race, the faith that says there are people who care, who want to know, and want to change the world through global revolution, who respect the fierce, rough-edged poetry that is the only type I know how to write.

My journey into adulthood and its inevitable loss of youth and its illusions, coupled with the irrevocable sweeping changes man has wrought across the world in the last fifteen years, has left me void and empty and stolen my romantic idealism. In the ruins that remain I have found nothing but an ever-increasing existential anxiety concerning not only the fate of humanity but my own as well. For if I can no longer be the writer and poet I once was, the only true experience of the divine creative spirit I have ever known, then who am I? Who else can I be and still be my true self? And if I am still a poet, then how and when will the intellectual and creative fires that once blazed within me be kindled again and make this prison of my flesh an inferno, melting its bars and setting my soul free to reunite with the divine spirit of all creation?

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