What Will Shakespeare and Stephen King taught me


Will Shakespeare, Stephen King and I were sitting on a bench,

When Will said, “ You know Ken, it’s all about the act of the art? ”

” It doesn’t matter what you think, Will!” Stephen interrupted “ It matters what he’s got to say” ignoring my existence entirely while gesturing outward towards ‘it all’.

“Precisely Mr. King” said Will

It was something about William Shakespeare and Stephen King that got me going again. Not that I wasn’t going, I had been performing, writing a few new songs, and trying to find effective ways to interact with people as an independent musician and writer, right sizing my life, considering my carbon footprint but I had been sleeping way too much. I had a lot of fits and starts running around in my head and maybe I just needed to let them go, let them brew in the subconscious and cavernous recesses of the mind. It had been awhile since I was struck awake at 4am or until such an hour, struck with burning idea and vicious cause. Struck with the idea that I had to get on the page for it’s importance to anyone, any single soul including my own, might be too important to lose. Now I care about a great number of things, chiefly the planet and our potential, but as such I could be writing about any number of little or big things and maybe I had been just becoming a bit overwhelmed by it all, by the levity of it all. This is indeed, powerful stuff. As Stephen King would say, Magic, and I had to be reminded that I too absolutely and unequivocally believe in magic.

If Will Shakespeare was just a name behind a movement, a movement that saw art as the most powerful medium to affect social change and spread awareness in a period of intense oppression and harsh living conditions, then isn’t that the most important thing there is. After all in those days the bard’s song was often considered heretical and even when cherished and secretly revered was still kept in the cellar next to the wine, only to be brought out for the good times and emotional bribes. Then quickly tucked away so it were not to show weakness in the hands of those that beloved it so secretly. Not one could argue we’ve come along way from artistes’ being branded heretics and burned at the stake; after all there is an Art & Entertainment industry. But then again, one could view the industry and it’s surrounding media as a modern day rendering factory for artist designed to squeeze dry and spit out any peripheral talent willing to go along. The superstars, those with talent and wit and the ability to maintain integrity while navigating the various career and image pitfalls as they climb out of the chasm of opportunists, lichens looking for a ride to greener pastures. Smart businessmen capable of seeing the qualities that people with part with their green paper and maybe soon gold bars for. No different than any other industry, with the singular goal of ending up with more. The problem isn’t the process, it’s the definition of ‘more’. And then there’s the guy who ended up with the ‘most’, wasn’t he smart? How did he do it? Maybe he’ll write a book about it and a whole other line of cutter and pasters will show up to prove how smart they are. And thus, all industry was created and all industries fell. Back to art Metaphor, indeed. They all fall back to art.

And then there’s Stephen King, who came along and said if your not going to take it seriously, if it isn’t like making love to you, then kindly get the fuck out! Call yourself a businessman, a fishmonger, a programmer but not a writer. Stephen said no matter what, when you take it seriously someone will try to make you feel bad and it will hurt. You might even learn how to make yourself feel bad and become so good at it: you’ll quit.

Quit what exactly? This business of art? No, the art itself. The business part, after all, can be routine and oh so dour. The business part is unfortunately ugly and contradictory to the art in the first place. It’s the art that breathes life into everything. It’s the art that make us human AND part of nature at the same time. It’s the art that has something to say, something that will not be kept down. It’s the business that taught non-artist’s how to cut and paste to capitalize on the talent of the artist. As such, we are undershooting our potentially in a big way and the storyteller will continue to tell you that. In a small way, in a love song, in the flash and fade of the pop industry, in song written to sell, in words to die for. In it’s falsehoods, the industry, is still showing you the right way. I see a universal story so deep and powerful that I can often barely articulate it. I see the wrong story being told, told by technophiles, business minds, politicians, and that aforementioned flash and fade pop music industry. Stephen and Will might say the wrong story being told can still illuminate the right path but often I worry. In a big way, I understand I guess the misnomers ripe with humility necessary for a word of sanity backed by evidence to make it in edgewise. Be humble before the ignorant King, for it is he that knows the door that leads to the land and its spoils and also the door that leads to the lion.

It’s easiest at 4am, being honest. Beginning to question our current paradigm and accepting all that’s wrong with the human problem; the ignorance, the bigotry, the war, the state of the planet and the ignorance about that as well. It’s easier for me to know that art is about telling this story. And I needed to be reminded that what was keeping me up at night was what is also keeping me alive. Not being judged by the industry for it or by an artist who feels it somehow behooves his or her goal to criticize because simply, with a nod to Mr. King, who the fuck are you? I’m making love here, and love is all there is.


About gatsbygreenlight

I am an natural economist, artist, musician, songwriter and a supporter of the planet and sustainable living. I am the author of Annalee and the Forever Smile, a Harry Potter of Sustainability and Little House on the Prairie for this generation. Annalee is a multi-novel, multi-film franchise in the YA sci-fi fantasy genre. I am a musician and songwriter with Gatsby's Green Light and as a soloist and have released over 10 albums. More info at www.kencoulson.com. I promote tangible trillion dollar markets in Sustainability at www.futurebrightllc.com. Promoting Love, Compassion and Intelligence.

Posted on February 27, 2012, in Artist Communities, Gatsby's Green Light, General Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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