Tuesday, April 2, 2013

7:30 BELLS: The Artist as Bell Ringer


In response to the 7:30 Bells posts of the last weeks, I suggest thoughts on how artists can support the ringing bell of their creative power. All artists are Bell Ringers. I took this photo of the leaning church tower last spring on the island of Burano, near Venice. If the tower falls, the bell will no longer ring.


How do we support our bell and bell tower so we can keep ringing, keep creating, keep sending our poems, stories, and paintings, ringing out across the waiting land?

1. As a Bell Ringer Artist, learn to maintain the bell and the bell tower. We so often forget the simple things that form the foundation for our ringing. Is the sinking ground beneath your bell tower causing it to lean? Is the mortar crumbling between the stones of your bell tower? Are your bell-ringing ropes frayed from wear or neglect? Are you taking care of your body, your body that holds your creativity? Do you need more rest, more exercise? More sleep? More quiet? Decide what you need to keep the foundation firm and the bell tower soaring.

2. Keep your bell clean of pigeon poop--negativity and unskillful criticism.

3. Keep rust off your bell. Like any fine instrument, it must be played regularly.

4. Keep weedy vines from growing over your bell tower—the bell needs an unimpeded view of the world to ring resoundingly. The bell can not be constricted, but must be free to swing to its full reaches.

5. Polish your bell by learning more about your craft.

6. Prioritize your bell ringing schedule. A bell has scheduled ringing times—for celebrations, holidays, holy days. A bell also rings unexpectedly—for weddings, funerals, emergencies. And sometimes a bell rings for pure joy. Know when, how often, and how hard to pull on the rope that rings the bell. Too much ringing will break the rope or crack the bell. Bell Ringer Artists must decide how to prioritize the bell’s ringing. Which creative projects are most important to you?

LORE OF THE BELL: 
Support the gloried weight of your ringing bell,
and your art will reverberate across the land for years to come.

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