An Artist's Apostrophe | Teen Ink

An Artist's Apostrophe

March 10, 2021
By piperw811 PLATINUM, Pittsford, New York
piperw811 PLATINUM, Pittsford, New York
34 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"chemistry between people is the strangest science of all" - Bridgett Devoue

the sooner we understand

that no one,

not one person,

has any idea what they’re doing

the sooner we can begin to live

with vigor, with life,

with excitement and eagerness.


it’s that core belief–

no one knows what they are doing–

that keeps our motivation

up, higher than the layers

of the atmosphere,

through to the planets, the stars,

the galaxies.


We creators can

and will

believe anything

because we want it

to be true.

We will the impossible to happen;

We write or paint or play

what has never been

heard or seen before,

previously thought

to be ineffable.


but we have no

idea how we make

the impossible



removing that prefix

seems on paper

like a quick

stroke of an eraser

but it’s more like

hundreds of

thousands of

millions of

trials and errors.

it’s words spilling onto a

blank sheet of paper,

ink spurting outwards like

a bamboo plant

growing five feet

in a day.

it’s notes flowing

out of fingertips,

filling the unbearable silence with

enough noise

to make any sane person

add on

two more letters

to the beginning and

land in asylum.

it’s paint jumping onto

the canvas like

sparks from a burning

ember, and when

our artistry takes over,

we sit, waiting,

praying that the canvas doesn’t

burn down,

praying that the music

doesn’t drive us to


praying that the words that

spill onto the page

make some form of

logical sense,

praying that whatever

is created will be

“good enough”,

whatever that

arbitrary sentiment might mean.


it defines so much

yet equates to so little.

if We create to please someone

shouldn’t it be ourselves?


but if We are

anything alike,

we know that is rarely the case.


there’s always someone:

a friend,

a relative,

a teacher,

whom our work

is made for.

not in dedication but

with hopes of gaining

their respect.


writing and painting and playing

for ourselves

always seems so

much more difficult than

playing and painting and writing

for someone else,

especially when

all we’ve ever done

is create

for another.


it takes a strong mind,

a strong will,

a power we cannot put into words

just yet

to achieve something

previously unfathomable–

like creating for



but that’s what

we do best–

pluck strings that

have never been plucked before,

write words that

have never been transcribed before,

paint pictures that

the world has never seen.


if we can learn

to create for ourselves,

it becomes truly


only then can we

pretend we know

what we are doing.



it seems obvious

that We are

putting old ideas

together to create

our own vision–

a uniquely unauthentic

puzzle of other

works of beauty.

it seems obvious

to us

that we don’t know

what we

are doing.


to anyone


it appears

as though we have

our lives together–

no one but artists understand

the phrase

“suffering for your art”

because we can put on

the mask of

understanding creation

even though we are inexplicably lost

as though creation

is our calculus.


onlookers think

we understand,

we kindle the flame

of creation like gods,

we have our life together,

tracing the path of our personal mazes with ease.


but We don’t.

We know nothing.


and we think of everyone

in the way that they think of us.

and so, through logic

can’t we assume that

no one knows what they’re doing?


and if no one else has

any clue what

to do

then who’s to say

we can’t experiment?

we should live our

lives vicariously,

with exuberance and

pleasure, making life

our own.

creating, painting, writing, playing

for ourselves

taking risks

because with our masks on

tight no one will

have any idea how

clueless We are.

The author's comments:

I've always loved the idea of giving advice to someone and listening to your own advice because it's what you need to hear as well; we've been learning about apostrophes lately and this particular apostrophe is written both from the perspective of an artist and to other artists. 

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