The Circle of Creative Eros

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Began the Day with Breakfast at Cracker Barrel before a Fire

It was a free society, to be sure, but one without depth: its ceaseless expansion, whether into outer space or on the production line, had created an almost irresistible temptation on the part of everyone to produce in order to produce still more. Tillich exhorted the producers of cultural goods to stop moving in this one dimensional direction–to come to a halt in order to “enter creation and unite with its power,” in short, to add the vertical line of depth to the horizontal line of extension.

Wilhelm & Marion Pauck, Paul Tillich: His Life & Thought

On May 6, 1963, theologian Paul Tillich spoke at the fortieth anniversary party for Time magazine at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. His audience consisted of the 284 celebrities selected for Time cover stories. His historic speech was titled: “The Ambiguity of Perfection”. In this speech, he addressed a crowd of movers and shakers of his day with the jolting words I’ve posted above. Tillich was fond of addressing the tension of the horizontal dimension of production with the vertical one of creative eros.

For the past couple of decades I have mused over this horizontal and vertical dynamic that Tillich expounded, and have known too well the tensions between what I face today (production deadlines) and what I enjoy on other days (feeding on ideas and creating art from the inspiration). For the next four days I will continue what I’ve known all this week–gathering, organizing, packing and loading art furniture and inventory–the horizontal. When the dust clears Monday, I hope to return to the studio and resume the creative task–the vertical.

Tillich’s tension between the horizontal and the vertical, the production energy vs. the intellectual process has held my attention over the years, but as I look at my own life processes, I tend to see them moving in a circle, a circle of creative eros. I hope it is O.K. now to share my circle with you.

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I perceive the foundation of my lifestyle as one laid in my study. I read every chance I can get, and have been scribbling my ideas from my reading in journals since 1985. I love the history of ideas–art, literature, philosophy, religion–and cannot find enough hours in the day to pursue this interest. For three decades, these readings have spawned classroom lectures and discussions, and now in my semi-retirement days, I still have this satisfying outlet in a university classroom.

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My expression from reading and thinking finds a good outlet in the classroom forum, but that is not enough. I also have to create visually, and from the study I generally find my way into the studio. And as I work, the “smart TV” continually plays YouTube documentaries and lectures from the world of ideas–art, literature, philosophy and religion–and I listen with a glad heart while I paint.

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My ideas have a way of dispersing in the classroom as they disappear into the air and hopefully take root in students’ lives. However, the art works on paper have a way of accumulating into boxes and cartons, and need a place to go. Hence the days when I have to load up and deliver them to a gallery, store or art festival.

So, today and for the rest of the week, my circle will be anchored in this third realm. All day today I will be printing, packaging and organizing my inventory. Tonight I will load the Jeep and tomorrow morning at 9:00 arrive at my Dallas destination to set up for the Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Art Show. I enjoy all three parts of this circle that has its way of organizing creative eros. And I’m anticipating good things today as I work.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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