Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The mess

Since Little Donnie (as I will be referring to him from now on) was declared the winner in the recent unpleasantness that passed for an election, I've heard a couple of friends question the value of their creative work. What's the point of pursuing art when the world is so deeply screwed up? Shouldn't we all be putting our energy toward something more important? Etc., etc. Here's my answer for all the artists — and by the way, if you create, you are an artist, whether you have paintings hanging in major museums or you write poems no one ever sees:

The living world is chaotic, complex, and messy, and artists glory in the mess. It feeds us. We take it in and transform it, and thus we thrive. Authoritarians of every sort hate us for that because the mess scares the hell out of them. They're ruled by fear, and we’re braver than they are. They need to flatten, smooth, and simplify in order to make their world feel safe. We're their natural enemies. They keep trying to tidy the mess, and we keep stirring it back up. We can’t help ourselves. Simply by being who we are, by engaging with the world in a way that feels natural and necessary, we make them squirm. And making bullies squirm is a good thing, worth doing. Always.

Photo by BitterGrace


Ruth Moors-D'Eredita said...

Thanks Maria. Beautifully and essentially said. And I'm saying this for the first time since 11pm Tuesday night: comforting. Thank you.

Shylotus said...

Thank you for this, Maria. I've found that in the last 7 days I've created more pieces than ever before. Only thing is, I don't feel that it's contributing to assuaging any injustice out there. So I've decided to donate a portion of the profits of my holiday trunk shows to the ACLU and the NRDC. I'm not sure if I should share that information with potential customers. That's got me a bit stuck.

BitterGrace said...

Thanks for kind words, friends. A, that is a great idea, but I see the dilemma. FWIW, my choice would be not to specify organizations, but just say "environmental and human rights advocacy" or something like that.