Sacrifice

““If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.”Charles Bukowski

Sacrifice is a a rare thing these days. In a society of instant gratification, we want to pay the price, and get something in return.

I’ve spent a couple of years writing without expecting anything in return. I had lost hope of ever being read by anyone. I was alone, and in my solitude, I decided to sacrifice my time and my energy.

In retrospect, I was trying to accomplish something: I wanted to leave a part of me behind, a part that would endure through the centuries.

I wrote and wrote and wrote, and whenever I felt that life wasn’t fair, that I didn’t deserve to be treated in the way that I was treated, I wrote even more, to the point that I felt that the real world had nothing to offer me. At the same time, the real world had nothing to threaten me with, nothing to do to me.

I was free. Alone and free. I could write about anything I wanted, I could be any of the characters I imagined. And, sometimes, if I got lucky, I even felt alive. More alive than I’ve ever felt before.

Some of you might argue that we always translate life into art. But which life? The one we have or the one we wished we had? The one we’re certain we’re never going to have?

All art is a sacrifice. There’s nothing to bring you comfort: not money, not fame, not even the prospect of creating something that will last forever. We sacrifice life under the cover of the night in order to create a world that could never exist. We hope for more, we strive for better. We try to reach a place that doesn’t exist.

And we fail. And we rarely get thanked for it.

Most of the times we suffer. A sacrifice implies suffering, pain.

But you do it regardless, because you have to, because there’s a voice inside your head telling you to write, write, write until you can’t feel your fingers anymore. Because there’s nothing else you’d rather do.

Because you hope that, one day, the world outside your window will resemble the one inside your head.

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39 comments on “Sacrifice

  1. Writing is not a science – it’s an art. This being said, practice makes perfect…just like playing an instrument or singing. That’s good you wrote you were probably perfecting your craft. good work young padewan.

  2. Thank you. I’m grateful to read your words on sacrifice. Absolutely wonderful. I love the last sentence. Thanks, Richard

  3. sanit128 says:

    “Madness, most of all is to see life as it is; instead, of how it should be.” Miguel de Cervantes 1509 From Don Quixote. This is my favorite literary statement of all time because it recognizes the need for all of us to make the world we imagine the world in which we live. Writers/artists have suffered greatly for their art but I think it may be inaccurate to say that sacrifice is rare today. Many give everything, including their lives, for another but I do understand your feelings. At your age, I saw far more evil in the world than good and that does not mean that the evil wasn’t intense then. The bad in the world is and always will be overwhelming because the scum always rises to the top and gets noticed. Through suffering and sacrifice we learn that we must always recognize and fight the bad, yet we cannot fail to point out and trumpet the good. We are eager to get our ideas out there because we feel passionate about them and think they must be shared and that is what keeps us writing. The truth is, we create art because we know it is important and must accept the fact that we may never be well known or get accolades for our work. Some of the most heralded works of today brought nothing but frustration to their creators.Many works brought too much attention in the form of persecution and death.

    When we are given an idea, we must write or create in another medium for no other reason than it must be given life. It matters little what others think, the important part is to express yourself whether you hope to entertain, inspire, or convince your readers of something. We have no power over how our readers will react to our words. Upton Sinclair, who wrote, “The Jungle” stated that he wrote the book hoping to plead to the hearts of his readers but it hit them in the stomach instead. Nevertheless, the changes he hoped to initiate happened even if it was not in the way he had intended. So, continue writing for the sake of writing knowing one person may pick up something you wrote and it may provide the laugh that was desperately needed, the inspiration longed for, or the reason to make change. Just write.

    • Nathalie says:

      Oh wow! Your sentence “It matters little what others think, the important part is to express yourself whether you hope to entertain, inspire, or convince your readers of something.” Even though this was meant for Cristian Mihai, I will keep this in mind, and make it my new “mantra”. Thank you!

    • This is one of the best comments on this blog. And I do agree with you. There’s good, there’s hope, there’s something to strive towards no matter how the situation presents itself. We are the masters of our destinies.

      • sanit128 says:

        Well put, Cristian. You are leaving your mark on the world in the present as are we all when we reveal our thoughts through the written word, upon a canvas, carving a sculpture, or creating any other type of art. Even those I would gladly have avoided some, such as Mien Kampf, they affect us by the ripple effect throughout humanity. The impact of that written work continues to stain humanity so we must write until our minds are exhausted of all thought in order to show the world that more good than evil can be found through the written word. We need to create positive ripples that will overcome the the strength of the ignorant whose motivation is hate.

  4. caliyapond says:

    True words that I can relate to very much. Thank you.

  5. Nathalie says:

    Thank you! I needed to “hear” (read) this. It does feel a lot like you try, and try and try, and no one recognizes you for anything you have tried so hard. And when that happens I tend to leave my passion behind and live in our society’s life…this reality….which can be beautiful with its nature and all, but at times, makes you feel like you really don’t belong. Because, at the same time you feel like something is missing….your passion, your life force, your urge to be yourself and the need to express yourself in the rawest way possible. But, most of the time, no one will take notice, nor appreciate any of it. Or, they may just call you a dreamer…

    • Well, most people feel they don’t belong, but they can’t do anything about it. In a way, it’s a great thing to be an artist, to be able to escape this reality. It’s not an act of cowardice. On the contrary, it means to be able to see farther than what’s right in front of your eyes. It’s a thing of hope, I guess.

  6. How I enjoy reading your posts :D
    To respond to one of your questions: ‘we always translate life into art. But which life? The one we have or the one we wished we had?’
    I think it’s a mixture of both of them. At least in my case as a photographer.

  7. sayitspeak says:

    I love this. Sharing with all of my creative friends. So many can relate.

  8. galeweithers says:

    My favourite paragraph because it’s so very true: “But you do it regardless, because you have to, because there’s a voice inside your head telling you to write, write, write until you can’t feel your fingers anymore. Because there’s nothing else you’d rather do.” The sacrifice and suffering are worth it – because we write mainly for ourselves and there’s no feeling like getting the words out of your head and down on paper. We are with you!

  9. juleseddy1 says:

    I think we all want to believe that we matter, what we does matters and what we leave behind will matter to someone–Thanks for persevering! You matter and whatever life you have chosen matters!

  10. Absolutely! I empathize with you.

  11. barn7777 says:

    I cannot say enough how much this post says it all about me as a writer, and probably most–I completely agree that it is a sacrifice, but it is something that I cannot pull myself away from, it is simply who I am and what I do. Thanks for posting!

  12. Gregoryno6 says:

    Stephen King said it best: In the end, you do it because not doing it is suicide.

  13. jeezusgut says:

    Whenever I see the “Roll the Dice” poem by Bukowski, I can’t help but think of this: http://zenpencils.com/comic/122-charles-bukowski-roll-the-dice.

    I agree that art requires sacrifice, but I also believe that artists get into their head too much and start thinking that the only way to create is to ignore everything and everyone. The truth is, however, that art, like everything worth pursuing, requires a balance because artists ultimately make a statement of the world to some degree. Thus, if you do not experience any of the world, your art will suffer. Just my two cents, but definitely appreciated your post and thoughts.

  14. egehlin says:

    Thank you for this post!! It speaks right to the heart of why we feel the need to create and the passion that keeps us pushing on even when it seems no one is noticing. Your insights are right on the mark!!

  15. I can relate to this! If I want to do anything with passion, I often end up alienating others around me, yet I find more comfort in my own thoughts than in the outside world. Sometimes I think I need my head examined. Haha

  16. Fantastic last line, Bukowski himself would approve!

  17. Chills. This gave me chills! Thank you!

  18. beautiful. Thanks for this!

  19. ramney says:

    “… I wanted to leave a part of me behind, a part of me that would endure through the centuries.” That’s exactly how I feel. Keep sharing! You’re leaving your mark, dear… :)

  20. sivonigaba says:

    ”Find what you love and let it kill you” – Bukowski

  21. jhg14970759 says:

    I realise that others already said this, but thank you. I often find myself scribbling away for hours, knowing that no-one but me will ever see what I jotted down. No-one will ever get what I poured out. But when it comes to writing I sacrifice freely, because it’s this sacrifice that makes me feel alive.

  22. Beautiful. I really like your musings on the depiction of life in art, and the questions you posed on this belief. There is such a fine line between truth and believed reality. Can art ever depict ‘real’ life?

    • At most, art can mimic real life. They do get incredibly close at times, sometimes they touch, but they never become one and the same. They never become exact copies of each other.

  23. simon7banks says:

    Yes. Part of the problem with the concept of sacrifice nowadays is not so much the giving something up, it’s the giving something up and not instantly, obviously, getting the reward.

  24. My Light Bag says:

    I’ve been writing all my life because I simply can’t imagine NOT writing. And that’s the best reason to do something, isn’t it?

    • Yes, it is. When there’s no other way, no other choice. It’s what passion really means. Doing something because you can’t imagine not doing it, because not doing it means dying a very, very slow death.

  25. “In retrospect, I was trying to accomplish something: I wanted to leave a part of me behind, a part that would endure through the centuries.

    I wrote and wrote and wrote, and whenever I felt that life wasn’t fair, that I didn’t deserve to be treated in the way that I was treated, I wrote even more, to the point that I felt that the real world had nothing to offer me. At the same time, the real world had nothing to threaten me with, nothing to do to me.”

    This was so poignant for me on a deeply personal level. Thank you. I’m so glad you write and sacrifice for your art.

  26. perfectblack says:

    well writing is my highest form of mediative practice my instant pain pill from the upsets of the world my other woman who know’s me intimately. none judgmental and priceless. well written my friend when you get the change stop bye Perfect black

  27. Wonderful words. I can read this over and over again.

  28. jreidauthor says:

    Totally agree with this! Focusing on my writing has caused me to lose a couple of girlfriends. And yet, I kept writing. Hmmm…wonder what that says about those girlfriends…or me?

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