(A) Man Without a Country: #A-Z Challenge
“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
There’s a big focus on creativity these days and I’m a keen supporter. In posts on this site, I’m always encouraging you to be creative in whatever way works for you. If that hasn’t worked, if you’re still sure you’re not creative, please read the best post I’ve ever read about what constitutes creativity It’s by Alana, author and owner of a wonderful new blog site called Of Love and Light.
In this post, I want to talk about the kinds of creativity that many of us shy away from, specifically the arts. It’s a rhetorical question when I ask why we are often reluctant to paint, draw, sculpt, write, dance, or act. Rhetorical because I know the answer. We don’t feel that we are good enough. We’re not artists.
Making Art Grows Your Soul
I get it. I’ve often joked that I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, that my trees look like the lollipop trees favoured by four-year-olds. Even in the art form of writing, where I’ve published six books with a major publishing house, I moan that my ability to write nonfiction isn’t as worthy as someone else’s ability to craft fiction.
However, I’ve come to realize that none of this matters. Or, more accurately, that it only matters if:
a) I believe in instant expertise (I don’t), and
b) I want to make a career out of making art (nope, don’t want that either).
Let’s make art because it’s an ideal way to express our uniqueness. Let’s make art because it’s fun to do, because it grows our souls, and because it is one of the best ways to experience the transcendent joy we talked about in the deep play post.
I love the way that creativity coach and author, Julia Cameron, explains it:
“Making art of any kind is an alchemical process. Making art, we turn the dross of our life into gold. Making art, we recreate ourselves.”
What art do you make? If the answer is ‘none,’ what’s one thing you’d like to try and one small step you could take to change that answer? (Hint: Let the post photo be a guide. How long has it been since you fingerpainted?)