It’s not necessarily the best way to be and can result in the loss of friendships and other human connections. But some creative artists are known for becoming so absorbed in the flow of creative productivity that they lose sight of everything else until the process slowly eases toward completion. They (we) can only hope that once all the lightning of unleashed imagination and nervous energy relaxes, they (we) will have something worthwhile to balance out the price paid.
This scenario has been fairly descriptive of my life for the past year or so while creating art and assembling texts for a book I had hoped to see published in November. A couple of COVID-19 variants named Delta and Omicron, along with the pandemic-induced supply chain crisis, decided that was not going to happen. So, instead of waiting until next spring, when hopefully it shall see the light of day, I’ve chosen to periodically share excerpts from the work in progress.
With the above in mind, my most recent art print posted for sale on Fine Art America is a very special one titled “Love Letter to the Earth and Life Itself Number 3.” In addition to being part of a triptych included in the book, this is also my way of pledging support for the Letters to the Earth project. Not to be confused with the classic American author Mark Twain’s Letters FROM the Earth, the Letters TO the Earth initiative got its start in Great Britain and has now spread around the world. Not surprisingly, given his call for existential creativity, author Ben Okri has also lent his voice in support of the initiative.
The following is taken from the artwork’s product page and provides context for the inspired intentions which led to its creation:
A Blossoming Earth
“Love Letter to the Earth and Life Itself Number 3” is one of the last images created specifically for inclusion in my current artbook project, a blend of visual fine art and literary texts. This artwork also happens to be my 200th post milestone on Fine Art America, which is a big deal to me because the creation of art (my own and that of others past and present who inspire me) has always been an important part of my survival strategy.
The title was inspired by the worldwide Letters to the Earth Project, which was established in 2019 to encourage support of policies and practices designed to reverse catastrophic climate change caused by humanity’s activities. At this point, we know the climate crisis is very real because things like giant melting glaciers and entire towns wiped out by raging fires that burn for months refuse to be ignored. But that doesn’t mean beauty no longer exists in our extraordinary world because it does.
Author of Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah
Co-author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
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The meaning of the image on the TV screen was clear to me as I watched footage of giant aircraft explode against the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. A war had been declared.
Much less clear, just last month in August 2021, was the meaning behind videos of people clinging to (and falling from) a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport aircraft flying out of Kabul, Afghanistan, after 20 years of roadside bombings, drone killings, and to-the-death firefights.
From the moment terrorist hijackers convinced themselves their deadly plot was a good, courageous, and even holy undertaking, the possibility of anyone claiming victory in the long inevitable conflict to follow was destroyed. Just like the WTC Twin Towers themselves.
The U.S., a decade later, would be able to claim a retaliatory victory with the killing of Osama bin Laden. We would also be able to claim a humanitarian triumph (to some extent) with renewed international diplomatic support of Afghanistan’s government, advances in education for Afghan girls and business opportunities for women, and improvements in the country’s public infrastructure.
The Taliban, upon the U.S.’s not-so-graceful departure, could say it had outwaited a superpower and like the most innocent of Davids had brought Goliath crashing facedown to the ground. What they cannot, however, refute is the overwhelming evidence of the rejection of their presence in Kabul by an entire generation of Afghans grown accustomed to a way of life vastly different from what the Taliban envisions for them.
There are no winners in these betrayals of human dignity and spiritual integrity. There is toxic sorrow choking on memories of something sweeter and simpler. And there is hope flickering like the smallest of flashlights inside columns of ash and smoke.
From Reflecting to Responding
While I count myself among the world’s most ardent lovers of poetry, I knew once the coma-like numbness caused by the brutal reality of 9/11 wore off, I would need to do a lot more than write poems about it. But poems were a good way to start, and eventually Angel of Remembrance Candles for September 11 2001 became one of the most quoted on the subject. Essays like Reading Rumi After 9/11 would also become important.
Six years after the attacks, I joined online with others across the globe to transform healing reflections into restorative actions by launching the Creative Thinkers International community. The idea behind CTI was fairly simple:
“…Creative Thinkers International was founded as a response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. As such, its purpose has been to ‘inspire creative responses’ to the challenges of social and political diplomacy and to increase cross-cultural interaction spawned by globalization. Its logo was derived from an original image by artist Denise Elliot-Vernon.”
In addition to the music videos, stories, and photography regularly posted by members, the site also featured a United Nations RSS feed and supported such annual U.N.-sponsored observations as:
Contemporary award-winning American author of classically-styled works in history, poetry, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and journalism.