Posted by: scintillatingspeck | December 11, 2012

For artists questioning the utility of their art.

This morning I had the great fortune of spending time with Mona, a friend who is an artist.  We ambled in the sunshine near Nashawannuck Pond, arm in arm, with tales to tell, tears to roll, and kind eyes to offer understanding.  There was spaciousness, glinting water, the nearby gravestones, the pine trees above, the loveliness of my fully-attentive friend with her luxurious hair and beautiful smile.

We spoke of lives in disarray, confusion about our roles, broken-heartedness, passionate inspiration, truth, love, beauty, living fully, and what the hell we’re supposed to do now.  Isn’t that the question that arises repeatedly?  You know.  Holy shit, so now what?

She has followed the urgent call to focus on her art.  In the midst of all the precariousness she clearly sees, in the midst of the pain of the world, the need to create art is overwhelming.  She has doubts about this.  Is it useful?  Is it the best use of her time?  What about money?  What else should she be doing?  Can she really allow the universe to guide her to this?

I offer these words to you, my friend.  I offer these words to myself, as a writer.  I offer these words to all those who are stunned, grieving, grasping for a foothold on this sheer rock face of reality, and who experience the internal demand for creative expression as an act that is as necessary as breathing.

You are not wrong to follow this path.  You are not being “frivolous.”  You are recognizing that you want to live fully, profoundly engaged and committed, for as long as there is life left.  You have a voice, and it must be heard; it must not be muzzled by you or anyone else.  To make a difference, to touch someone far beneath the surface, to make that electric connection, to be a torch of inspiration for all who strive for justice and beauty: this is a noble task.  It doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten about basic necessities; it doesn’t mean you’re foregoing the practical, the rational, and instead taking a flying leap into irresponsibility and recklessness.  No.  What is reckless is refusing to eat that which feeds you.  What is reckless is tuning out the screaming truth in your heart and plowing ahead according to the expectations of a culture gone mad.  What is reckless is the notion that your cultural conditioning, or anyone’s, could take your dazzling gift and spit on it, trample it, degrade it, treat it just the same as everything precious seems to get treated now, taking all that is most delicate, astonishing, gorgeous and bombing it, raping it, smashing it, killing it, leaving only a heap of coagulated blood and splintered bones.  That is what numbing yourself to your art will do, numbing yourself to the luminosity and agony of the world- you cannot be an artist and not make art, or you risk squandering your humanity.  Let the art lead you to what you need to learn.



  1. yes! yes! without a doubt, the art leads to what we need. it’s the opposite of frivolous.

  2. painting with words, using broad strokes, fine details, bringing in both shadow & light… thank you dear friend for your gifts, your friendship, your time, your insights xoxo

  3. “What is reckless is refusing to eat that which feeds you!”
    H0! I am so glad to read this and to “real-eyes” the truth of these words…..ah, an internal breakthrough! ❤

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