By: Donnie Casto II, a.k.a the Dark Troubadour
“This has to be a dream!” he said, sitting there in the cafe sipping coffee, with a glass of absinthe on the side. He knew he had no passport, and knew he certainly wasn’t in France before he went to sleep.
“I find we are more in reality in our dreams than we are when we’re awake,” the writer before him responded. “Tell me young man, has the misery of life made you such a hopeless cynic that the fuel within your soul is spent before you write out on the page?”
There was no doubt about it, the young man thought. “I know this is a dream, and I know this because you, you’re a long gone memory.”
“The measure of any true artist is to reside in the home of the heart, especially the one whose heart their words or art are meant to touch. That’s why I am here now.” As he reached to take another drink of coffee the gentleman sitting with him at this outside cafe table placed his hand upon the younger man’s cup.
“I think, considering the circumstances, you’d be wise to take a drink of this.” The writer of a memory long gone poured the water over the slotted silver spoon, dissolving the sugar, turning the emerald green liquid into a milky white. As the writer stirred the young man’s drink, he reached into his pocket, opening a gold case, and retrieved two cigarettes. Lighting one for himself and handing the other to the younger man.
“You called me here. So . . . ask away. I find a good cigarette and good company never leaves one a bore in life. That much was true, the young man thought, as he lit his cigarette, taking a sip of the licorice flavored drink.
“I feel blocked in my writing, I can’t. . .” the words stammering from the young man’s lips.
“Writer’s block?, Cowardice to write what the artist observes.”
“Lack of money to write full time.” replied the young man.
Laughing, the writer long gone blew smoke ring’s saying “You lack the imagination to utilize your talents.
“Properly writing other people from the past and present.” the young man said, sipping his harsh, bitter absinthe. “You simply acknowledge the mask each one wears. Good people reveal their true nature, hollow, empty, and evil one’s hide behind their masks”.
“I suppose… I suppose I fear failing.” said the younger man. To which the writer of memory replied, “Young man, you don’t fear failure, you only fear the choice your heart has made, and your hand fears a gift taking you to a destination you do not know. One can never fail what they truly love and have yet to honestly try.”
“Young man” said the writer of memory, “The sole responsibility and obligation of the artist is to chronicle life. We observe the sublime and subtle details in fact, fiction, poetry, or prose that passes by the world so enlightened in knowledge they are actually blind. That alone is the definition of what is written well and what is not. Even good writers and artists of all kinds occasionally become so baptized in living they forget the true calling of their nature, and that one truth has remained unchanged in the course of my time as it has yours, and it is this: simply to observe and record truth. None with the blessing or curse of art should be professing ethics and morals from their lips that their legacy proves are absent in the heart.”
“I stand in judgment of no one, I merely…”
Laughing, the evidence of the writer long gone, enlightened nature reflecting and dancing in his gray eyes, replied, “Yet, for someone who has conformed to the title of an ‘introvert,’ as your generation has labeled it, you stand guilty of placing judgment upon the nature of yourself. Tell me, what is your religion; in what do you place the most faith in to compass yourself as an artist?”
“I place faith in Love, love of God and my fellow man.” The young man replied.
“Yet, you do not practice within your own heart to your own self what you freely give to God and to others,” He said. “How funny it is the love and forgiveness we freely and blindly give to our Creator and to our fellow man, but we punish ourselves with the sin of never truly loving the divinity within ourselves?” said the enlightened writer.
“What then, is ‘truth’ to the artist?” the young man asked.
“Truth is never absolute for the artis: it is an abstract that resonates in the eyes and through the heart. Think of each of story as the Creator constructing heaven and earth from a dark void. Mesh the bright fire of experience, pleasure, pain, joy, sorrow, fear. Take in every human virtue and vice and make them your own. Such experiences are never unique as all of mankind has experienced them in one form or another. As an artist, it’s not reinvention you seek but reflecting these in a unique mirror that builds upon the evolving constant that mankind in your generation, as it did in mine, ignores.”
“Why do you write?” he asked as he lit yet another cigarette.
“Because I have to, because the demons of my inner nature require it,” replied the young man.
“And yet the angels of your better nature that graced you with this gift have it so you are punished with demons of your own nature and device that curse you with a pain so very few know. Tell me, how does one with such talent allow it to sit idle knowing those with such a blessing are cursed with such borrowed time to exercise it?
“Do you not realize my young friend each of us as a writer and as an artist is amongst the damned, living on borrowed time? Our art, our words, the impact we leave in this world, are our living requiem to society. Artists all suffer from the same cursed disease. Portions of the muses in their life trap them in the repeat of memory lane instead of moving ahead to a future of freedom and possibility in their nature and their craft.”
TO BE CONTINUED. . .