Be a source of beauty in the world

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dock at sunset, cocoa beach, florida

Except for his most popular music and his role in Labyrinth, I didn’t know that much about David Bowie. Since his recent death (fuck cancer, btw), it’s been fascinating to read up on just how much of a creative inspiration he was to so many… and how much he worked at it. One of my favorite tribute posts is this one written by Jamie Wallace (@suddenlyjamie), in particular her thing #3 that David Bowie taught us about creating art:

#3 – Be a force for bringing beauty into the world. Though the sometimes outrageous personas and fashions he adopted over the span of his career aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no denying that Bowie brought color and style to the world. He embraced the importance of beauty – in all its forms – fully and passionately. He never held back. In fact, he pushed at the edges of traditional definitions and helped us see beauty everywhere.

I like to think those are some of the reasons I write poetry: to bring beauty into the world… to “never hold back.” That’s not to say that I think my poems themselves are beautiful. They don’t have to be. Not at all. And that’s not really my focus. I simply like to think that it’s a beautiful act: to take something ugly or clumsy or uncomfortable or taboo and create from it a piece of art. Even if the raw material is itself already beautiful (a sunset, mountains on the horizon, wrinkles on the back of a hand), a poem can help us really see it, place it within our grasp.

Do this, this act of creating, fully and passionately. Find the raw edges. And please — please — point us to them. I may be biased, but poets (and writers and other artists) are some of the best guides we have.


  1. Hi, Carolee.
    Thanks for sharing my post. I’m glad you liked it. I love that you focused on that particular item in the list. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, in the wake of Bowie’s death and in exploring my own unexpectedly deep grief as well as the grief of so many others. Too often in this world, we discount beauty as unimportant, non-critical, a nice-to-have. But, that’s not true, is it? We seek beauty because it nourishes us. It is not superfluous. It’s part of why we’re here … to witness and appreciate all the beauty … and to create it where we can.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Like you, I wasn’t one to follow Bowie that closely, but I’ve always liked what I’ve heard and seen from him. I especially like and agree with what you wrote about the beautiful act. Yes.

  3. a million eyes to see the same differently. what difference do we make? and an early Saturday morning, people standing in a rainy line to see Labyrinth. odd I thought. then, oh yea I understand.

    one insightful look on beauty is “Finding Beauty in a Broken World”, Terry Tempest Williams. (breath-giving)

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