John Keats says that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.” The line has always stuck with me. It’s one of those lines that one hears again and again from class to class. I’ve always wondered, though, what constitutes a thing of beauty?
I can’t say that Keats’ poem answers my question. He speaks of daffodils and the moon and even the “mighty dead,” but he approaches those things with the Romantic mindset. All those things are beautiful and grand and glorious.
Since I rarely – if ever – write about daffodils or the “mighty dead,” I don’t necessarily consider those things as being things of beauty. Yes, they are beautiful, but they aren’t the things that “always must be with us, or we die.” My things of beauty either are ordinary things or seemingly ugly things.
Those things probably reach their fullest potential in my poetry; however, the impetus to find beauty in the ordinary or ugly often fuels the writing found on this blog. It’s one of the reasons I talk about the struggles of being both a creative person and a perfectionist. I find a beauty in that struggle. It fascinates me. I like to poke and prod it. I enjoy wandering around the subject and considering it from different angles. I watch the conflict transpire between the two mindsets and am transfixed by it. I experience the tension found in trying to write about the struggle, and, sometimes, that tension produces a new thing of beauty, a thing I can both call my own and share with others.