on death, art & relevance
It has been an exceptionally long week. There has been a tragedy at our periphery. A child in my daughter’s class has died. The girl was 3, my daughter is 4, I am 35, and it makes sense to none of us. I did not think I would be as affected as I have been by this event. I did not expect that for 4 days I would forget to eat dinner. I did not expect that to sleep I would need to take a pill, and that the tears would come at almost any moment- forcing me to wear sunglasses on the grayest of days this week.
As an adult, I am trying to make the proverbial lemonade. This event has happened at a seminal moment in my life- a time when I am standing on a precipice trying to decide whether or not to jump. Life is too short, and I must jump while I still have a chance. So I spent my dinner time this week getting this website in order. A first step... to what I am not quite sure.
This morning as I did some yoga (which I am desperately trying to get better at) I had a bit of a revelation. Artists live in the emotions that others live in a state of covering up. This sensitivity is a gift, not the hassle it has felt like all week. It is the reason I can look at a play and feel it so acutely as I read it. It is the reason I can sit in a room with a group of actors and audience and be transported to another world. It is the reason I feel so strongly about the power of theatre- the power of people in a group sharing a live experience.
My daughter’s teacher told us today that the children have been doing a lot of art work this week. They have all used art as a way to make sense of what is going on in their lives. They are making a play for their friend, they have painted pictures, I have even been told they’d like to make a movie. They have found strength in the group, and shared experience. Even the smallest children use art to confirm their humanity. To make art within a group, it is their therapy, their joy and their way of working though so many of their feelings. To create is a primitive instinct.
In this city it is easy to feel “less than”. To get caught up in who makes more money, who has more, why can’t I go to the best restaurant, why can’t I send my kid to that school, etc., when you do what I do. I make art, sometimes...sometimes I teach it, and sometimes I just sit at a desk and tell people why art is important. But today I know, my art is important. More than that, it is integral. Gathering people together in a room to share an experience that tells us about our shared humanity is primitive, and important. And it will never be irrelevant.
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