Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
We live in an age when the traditional great subjects - the human form, the landscape, even newer traditions such as abstract expressionism - are daily devalued by commercial art.
One thing about being a stand-up is it's a one-man show. You gotta do everything. You're the producer, writer, director, and the actor. You just gotta be out there and perform and give your all. It's such an honest form of art that it just taught me so much, and it kind of prepared me for manhood at an early age.
We have been so successful in the past century at the art of living longer and staying alive that we have forgotten how to die. Too often we learn the hard way. As soon as the baby boomers pass pensionable age, their lesson will be harsher still.
At this point in my life - age 24 - I have chosen a fairly strange path that not many are walking. I am a professional spoken word poet who tours the world performing and teaching. I run an organization called Project VOICE dedicated to using this art form as an education and empowerment tool in schools and communities of all kinds.
I was brought up Catholic, and I felt the power of art from a very young age - seeing the brutality of all those images of flayed apostles and tortured saints was a pretty strong introduction.
Kids are naturally gifted at art from a very young age. The problem is when they get older and become self-conscious. The process should always be fun, though.
We haven't lost romance in the digital age, but we may be neglecting it. In doing so, antiquated art forms are taking on new importance. The power of a handwritten letter is greater than ever. It's personal and deliberate and means more than an e-mail or text ever will.
Many a sin has sullied me in body and in soul because I did not restrain my thoughts nor guard my lips: nevertheless it is to Thee, O God of majesty and love, that I turn in my extremity, for Thou art the fount of mercy: to Thee, as quickly as I may, I speed: for Thou alone canst heal me: I take refuge under Thy protection.
I adore art... when I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes, and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear.
I have nothing to hide in art. The initial force alone can bring anyone to the end he must attain.
When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone - it's possible. But creatively, it's more like painting: you can't just use the same colours in every painting. It's just not an option. You can't take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.
Art makes us feel less alone. It makes us think: somebody else has thought this, somebody else has had these feelings.
The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough.
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