Making life more bearable
“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…” — Kurt Vonnegut
“What is the purpose of your blog?” That’s a question others have asked occasionally in the years since I started this blog. As far as I can remember, my answer is always the same.
“The purpose of my blog is to keep me from losing my mind.”
That’s not to say that I consider it art, except in the sense that Vonnegut describes above. But I agree with him heartily when he asserts that creativity can make our souls grow, and our efforts to create will bear fruit in ways we do not imagine at the time we are working.
I started this blog because our family had been blindsided by devastating news that threatened to overwhelm us. Even in our numb sorrow, we understood that we were far from alone in our suffering. I hoped what I put online here would somehow help someone else in addition to helping me. I had no idea blogging was a magic carpet that would take me to places where I had never been, and introduce me to wonderful people I could not otherwise have known.
In the beginning, I only knew that the act of producing each post — poring over photographs, reading quotations, piecing thoughts together — was a therapeutic process, one that healed my mind and gave it a respite from turmoil. Stringing beads does the same thing, as does working with paper, scissors and glue. Singing (badly) and painting (on a kindergarten level) also give my soul freedom from the unhealthy worries and fixations that are not conducive to surviving and thriving.
It’s probably the same for you. Some who may read this post are accomplished artists and writers who have turned their talents to financial gain, but that sort of professional achievement is not necessary for the therapeutic benefit (and indeed, I suspect, may work against it in some cases). Creativity is its own reward, watering the seeds in the garden of your mind so that beautiful and unexpected blooms may result.
This year I hope you will give yourself time and space to exercise whatever forms of creativity feed your soul. Don’t worry about whether it’s ready for prime time or not. You need not share it with anyone except yourself, especially in the beginning. It doesn’t require a lot of money, either. Discount craft supplies and “found” collage materials and online musical inspiration and all sorts of writing and drawing implements, and any other items you may need for getting started, are widely available for nothing, or next to nothing. So practice your art! And get ready to grow.