Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life, Art. Art, Life.

The most authentic art is affected by life; the most authentic life is affected by art.


But sometimes, life and art are believed to be mutually exclusive. Separate from one another. I've certainly been known to separate the two.


"I'll write after I've finished my to-do list, the practical things that I need to do today."


Or, the converse, "I need an escape from my life for a while. I need to stop thinking about all of this. It's time to create."


Mutually exclusive, they can be.


Still, if you ask a group of artists, most will say that their lives influence their art. Their deepest creativitiy is born out of an experience of grand proportion, on either end of an emotional spectrum. Strong emotion can evoke a creative response: a song, a painting, a poem, a photo - even a movie, a novel, or another major depiction. We encounter a profound experience, and we wish to portray it in a tangible form. Show this answer to someone else - or to the world.


But what happens when the opposite is true, when art influences life?


When Robb died, so little made sense to me. So much became so murky, so quickly. So much was unclear. My heart was broken, and my path was divided. Dreams fell shattered.


I could have chosen not to write. And I did take a bit of a break. I didn't know what to say; words eluded me.


But I'm a writer. I needed to write. If I were a painter, I would have gone to the canvas. If I were a song writer, I would have sat down at my piano. I am a writer, and I quickly found my keyboard.


Strong emotions sent me to create. To sort out. To depict something, anything.


And it has become a pillar of this journey, something I do every day: the discipline of creating. Through the intentional choice of sitting down, claiming the words, acknowledging the questions, and allowing room for no answers, my art has begun to influence my life.


Some have said to me, "The uniqueness of your writing is that you're in the middle of this. We're not reading about it many years later, after so many questions are answered, more benchmarks are clear, when we can see that you found what God had in mind all along. No, we're reading each day, through the gray and unclear. We're walking with you, even as you don't know where you're going."


I could have waited to chronicle this journey after it stops hurting, when the answers become clear, when it all makes sense. But without the discipline of my writing, perhaps it never would have.


Something is coming of this, something I may not have otherwise found.


I can't name it yet, by the way. I simply feel its roots digging deep. Perhaps this work will earn its title at the end.


I love the book of Psalms, largely written by David. Now, there was a man with a full plate: king, military leader, father, and husband to many, many, many. But he was also an artist: a poet, a wordsmith, a song writer. And through it all, he kept writing.


Sometimes his writing depicts answers and praise, and sometimes it shows a melodramatic, polarized heart. Some would venture to say that his writing that exists in the Bible is a small portion of what he actually wrote; perhaps he wrote volumes we never got to read. But he kept writing, even when his heart was wounded. Perhaps it was a discipline. And through the sorting of his heart, with the pen to the paper, something was born of that man after God's own heart.


Art. Life. Perhaps the two are so interwoven that they cannot be extricated.


The most authentic art is affected by life; the most authentic life is affected by art.

4 comments:

Jaimie said...

Oh I think what's in the Bible must be a small, small part of David's writing. After all, the best work comes about after loads of time working through the crap. (Hmm, true of life, I wonder?) We're probably just seeing the cream of the crop. What was publishable.

my3boys said...

"Something is coming of this, something I may not have otherwise found.

I can't name it yet, by the way. I simply feel its roots digging deep. Perhaps this work will earn its title at the end."

I claimed this for you months ago, and I believe it with all my heart.

Many continued blessings from God,
many continued prayers from me.

AKO Team said...

Thank you for speaking such truth about art and life!
Fun fact: My degree is in art (painting more specifically).
Creating is such a fundamental part of life. To create a meal, a garden, an outfit, a photograph, you name it, we've made it an art form.

I can't put words as beautifully as you do but I read this and was definitely thinking "YES! Finally, someone else believes what I believe about art!"

I love to tell people that the first active verb in the bible is "Created!!!" God CREATED!!!!

Love you and miss you!

Terry said...

i tried to comment yesterday but my computer wouldn't let me into the comments.
tricia all of these trials and all of your living and robb's and your boys will be used for the book that you most surely will be writing one day...you are an author!
praying for you muchly.....love terry