Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Anger is an energy."

by Savage Chickens

The video of "Rise" [below], with its refrain "anger is an energy", opens with women beating the hell out of rugs.
How many powerless people in history have taken their anger out on domestic objects?

My Sicilian grandmother used to take revenge on her abusive husband, my grandfather, in homey little sideways.
He'd slam her and their kids with everything from a bowl of oatmeal to a two-by-four.
She'd serve him a sugar bowl "accidentally" filled with salt, and starch his underwear.

(Watch out for the power of the powerless.)

I sense that anger is next up on my To Do list.
I almost never feel angry. Instead, I feel lethargic. Weary. Burdened. Sad. Aloof.


I'm afraid of people being angry at me and of being angry myself. I don't want to hit people with whatever comes to hand, or get hit either.

Being nice because you don't want people to hit you back isn't compassion. It's cowardice.
That may be necessary for self-protection, sometimes, but it's like pouring sugar in the gas tank of creativity.

My fear of anger affects my writing. It slows me down, because I'm trying to be nice, trying to avoid punishment.
What kind of art do you create when you're trying to be nice all the time?
Something like Tupperware?
On the other hand, unchanneled anger just splatters the walls with oatmeal.

Anger by itself doesn't create anything.
I like the idea of anger as an energy, like gasoline. You sure don't want to muffle it in rags and stick it in the basement. Nor splash it all over the place.
You want to run it to an engine, so it takes you places.

I'm working on a gas-fueled engine, but it's still in R&D.

"Rise", Public Image Ltd. (PiL)), John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), 1986

via Krista
"May the road rise with you."


femminismo said...

Amen, sister! I hear your stifled anger and niceness and raise you one. I never thought about this getting in the way of creativity. Well, that's not true. Sometimes I've let my inner censor limit what sort of words I put down on paper. You've given me food for thought.

Clowncar said...

I think ideally the writing engine should run equally well on any fuel - rage and love to languorous complacency. In practice, of course, some emotions are more high octane than others.

I try too hard to be nice in real life, bottle it in til it leaks out. In writing I fell less encumbered. Different audiences. Different expectations.

momo said...

I have spent so much time wrestling the demon of impatience which is the suppressed anger escaping like steam from a tea kettle! Then I wrestle the terrible shame that comes from being angry, because I was taught that an angry woman was a terribly ugly and unlovable thing.

Thich Nhat Hanh said two things that I remember about anger. One is something like "being angry is like being in hell" but also "anger can also be the fire that cooks your potatoes." Now I must go and find that book because I'm not remembering his exact words, and the exact words are important.

We just listened to "Anarchy in the U.K" on our car radio the other day. It reminded me of a time when I was righteously angry about so many things, and songs like that meant a lot to me.

ArtSparker said...

Energy is eternal delight

----William Blake

Fresca said...

FISMO: That inner censor can be quite the creativity muffler all right...

CCAR: Right, the writing engine runs well on anything that's fuel, but the fuel has to be available... which it's not if I've wrapped it in rags and stored in the basement of the soul.

There's a lot to be said for niceness in real life, of course. I like nice people!

MOMO: Potato-cooking anger! That's great! That's what I'm after.

ARTS: An eternal delight maybe, but in mortal time, sometimes less than delightful...
Billy Blake is more eternal than I
... especially now. : )

bink said...

Love the song... but what an embarrassing video.

whoosh! lighting a match!

Fresca said...

BINK: Kinda dated, eh?
But I do love the opening scene of the women beating the rugs.

Krista said...

I don't know why I didn't think of this Rollins' "Ember of Rage" bit earlier, but all this talk about Obama's lack of anger reminded me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6itaMKk2W_Y

(btw, thanks for all your lovely emails! For some reason, the SU servers aren't letting me send email from the road. Receive, yes; send, no. But we're going home today, and then I can write to you!)

Fresca said...

KRISTA: Thanks. In fact it was that very Henry Rollins piece that got me thinking about the possibility of cultivating anger as a useful energy. Like digging peat?