Rustle VV conversation

My friend Joshua Sullivan is a Lutheran minister, an artist, a music maker and an archivist — and newly a dad. We met at in divinity school, where we had many conversations about the struggle of deciding between art/ poetry and (for him) religious vocation. I have sometimes envied his sense of calling, however tortured it seemed at times (the secret thing is, I don’t think he can help being an artist, but I understand the pain that might have come from the necessity of letting go of particular ambitions and practices, simply due to the fact that there isn’t enough time). Maybe one of my favourite academic pursuits from divinity school was when we collaborated on a beautiful and weird project about W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn, Albrecht Dürer and Schubert’s Wintereisse (the best feedback we got, from an inveterate scholar of religious art, was: “This project was not academic — and I LOVED it”). I will make a presumptuous statement, I think we both felt/ feel that we had to subvert everything that was expected, in order to make it real. In order to make real. I don’t know, sometimes I think of making as a compulsion, and that I pride in a life of making that is not a standard life of an artist. Making conversation, making music, making anything — I feel that if I could value this fully, it would be a kind of shedding of ego, a kind of spiritual creativity. For this reason, I still respect so much that Josh is also a pastor. How does he reconcile the necessary rigidity of a religious vocation (even in its more liberal, and sometimes even revolutionary forms) with the creative boundlessness that comes with being a maker? One answer — sort of — that I love from him is that he makes archives, rather than art. And finds a process rather than solutions. I loved our conversation, I am still thinking about it. He’s a brilliant and unique human, and it’s cool to hear him talk to his other interlocutors, too. Who has the time anymore for all the content that’s out there! But this is some content that is content to be buried.

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