I recently did a series of videos about how people in Hampton Roads, Virginia renew their cities. The videos were initially done to help promote the Renewal Art Show that is produced each April by Symphonic, the church I attended while in Virginia.
I wrote a few articles about the Renewal videos for altdaily.com, a fine local source of news and culture, but the piece I wrote for the last video was by far the most personal, and so it was the hardest to write.
Manuel Osorio de Zuniga – Goya, 1784-1792
I thought about deleting it several times during and after the writing process. Repeatedly I’d ask myself, is it really all that wise to be deliberately vulnerable in public, and do I really believe all those fancy-sounding things I am writing?
I’d say yes to both, but only when I’m at my best, when I’m under the influence of good friends. My default sensibility is to be wary of others and go it alone, so it’s a battle to get past that.
Overall the edits that AltDaily did to my last piece made it more coherent, for which I am grateful, but the nuances of a small, but important, point I made got lost in translation.
Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters – Goya, 1797
I initially wrote that two discouraging incidents I faced were probably the results of past abuse or supernatural manifestations of evil. The edit did away with the possibility of abuse, making it sound like I am prone to see demons at work in many of the challenging circumstances I face.
Actually, I am more inclined to see problems as the consequences of human selfishness, poor design, or prior trauma, but I do believe that spirits, good and bad, exert influence in our world. After considering the AltDaily article as it currently stands, I realized that it is still true to how I see things, but the demons I’m thinking of are not necessarily scary spirits.
There are scary ones too, I’m sure, but most of the ones we encounter on a daily basis are more like lingering relics from the past that prevent us from becoming whole, sort of like how the brilliant cartoonist Lynda Barry portrays them in her book One Hundred Demons. (As it happens, that book is available for free on Google Books. Pretty neat, but the book has such a tactile aspect that you might want to consider the printed version.)
Little Hobgoblins – Goya, 1799
Put differently, demons are often like irrational bits of code that cause us to self-destruct, to doubt ourselves and others, to go against the very things that we claim to value, to override our inherent programming if you will. (Yeah, that’s the Matrix creeping into the discussion.)
It’s only fair to mention that I too struggle with my own personal demons. When I’m on my own, they win more than I care to admit, and I don’t like the person I can become when that happens. I am more likely to prevail when providence brings me people who help me stay the course.
La famille de l’infant Don Louis – Goya, 1783
With that said, here is the AltDaily article:
Below I’ve included all the Renewal videos. They are longer than many YouTube videos, but most people who’ve seen the videos have found them worthy of the time commitment. I hope they will inspire you, just as they inspired me when I made them.
If you appreciate my writing, why not write a comment or share the post with a friend? It would encourage me to keep writing and sharing bits of my heart with you.