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Old 07-02-2002, 06:34 PM   #1
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for your amusement...

I was cleaning up some school-related stuff on my computer and I came across this which mentions U2 in it so I figured I'd let you all read it if you want. this was a homework assignment (yes, I wrote this much for hw-doesnt happen often! ) where we had to take a quote from the amazing James Baldwin and write non-stop on whatever came to mind for one page. Keep in mind that this is basically a brainstorm, and my logic is, well, not quite logical in places don't take it too seriously!

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"Great art can only be created out of love. To write in this age is a positive act."

This quote, by James Baldwin rings especially true for me, and I'd like to take the liberty of expanding it even further: I think that all art can only be created out of love, and to write in any age is a positive act. Art, be it writing, painting, music, or any other form, is a matter of creation, a matter of pulling scraps of experience and emotion out of the journey called life, and weaving them into a fabric that tells a story, holds a lesson and a meaning for our fellow human beings to pull from in their own journey. Art is a way of saving strength and passing it on, generation to generation, and the desire to build and to share emotions can only be born of a love, a love of both people, and also life itself. In order for someone to create a work of art, life has to be meaningful enough to them for them to want to pass it on.
James Baldwin's writing is from the perspective of a black man trying to fight against the injustice done to his race in the Western World, and to raise awareness for the attitudes concerning both blacks and whites, and their separation. Baldwin writes jokingly of his hatred for whites as well as blacks in Notes of a Native Son, and while this seems to me to be a broad generalization meant to deliberately understate the complicated nature of the situation he is confronting and possibly his frustration with it at times, this joke is also born of a deep love of humanity and a faith that we can grow, and we can change. Great art does something beyond simply holding some truth, it exposes grey area and leaves it to the evaluation of the viewer; it can raise awareness and set the stage for change. Baldwin would not bother going to the effort of creating his work the way he does if the issue he is confronting did not matter to him. It is obvious his work is a labor of love.
I think it can be agreed upon that while change is not always positive, it is what keeps us moving forward, and in addition, true love is a positive emotion. Thus it is logical to assume that any writing designed to bring about change, and written out of love will keep us not only moving forward, but moving forward in a positive manner towards a future we want to embrace. In this way, in any age, to write is a positive act. Baldwin's statement of this fact also seems to hold truth because writing requires thinking, and as long as we are thinking, we will continue to grow, and we will not become complacent with our faults.
Love is obviously a complicated emotion that I can't accurately explore here, but I'd venture a guess that all emotions are some form of love; even hate, the so-called opposite of love, is in truth a bitter love, "the bitterness of one who is left alone" as Billy Corgan, a definite expert on melancholy, testifies. Jealousy, and even megalomania, are love, even if love of someone else's attributes better than one's own attributes, or love of oneself. For me, most of my experience of writing is in song lyrics, it is music that only recently made me realize how much I love reading and writing after I was completely and repeatedly blown away by Bono's lyrics, and by the love I feel radiating from the poetry he and the rest of U2 create together. At this point I'm about to go off on a side-tangent on U2 because they are my favourite band, and I can't really stay away from them due to what they've taught me, but I can't think of a better example of art born of love that has brought about change in the world, even if small change. Bono is simply one of the most admirable and honest people I know of, he loves life, he loves people, and he believes in the future we have. These loves are shown time and time again through his writing, and while he has been accused of being "preachy," he has never failed to tackle problems facing us in this world, and quite honestly--and I'm ashamed to admit it--he taught me a lot about world history that I probably never would have taken the initiative to learn on my own otherwise. What is my point? U2 are great artists, and they have created great art (and possibly some not-so-great art, even though I refuse to believe this) for a good twenty years now. They have played from their hearts and from their love, they have connected with millions world-wide, and if they managed to somehow educate me, I am sure they have educated others. They have brought awareness to me about Northern Ireland, Sarajevo, and third-world debt in Africa; they have brought awareness to grey areas to set the stage for change. They helped teach a teenager to think. They have written poetry and music from a deep love of humanity. They are just one example of what James Baldwin is talking about.
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