Monday, December 17, 2007

Art is necessary

OR why you should buy a piano and take up finger painting.

It is a common habit for me, if I accomplish anything to show any poor unsuspecting creature who crosses my path. A bit childish I suppose, but no brave hero has risen to stop me, so I think I'm safe.

Once I submitted a portion of my work to a critique group. It was awful. The group was wonderful. They told me their impression of my main character, some confusions, pointed out that I had the same narrator as my characters voice, and other good things. It was quite useful and in the end did the piece a lot of good, but I felt ashamed. I thought of other times I had done the same, poems that were absolutely terrible, stories that made me cringe. I didn't want people to see those, and I knew I would show them. I had to stop, and I would.

After twenty minutes of valient resolve I realised how dull my life would be without writing. I have other goals, I don't intend to be a writer, but it is everything else besides. Writing influences how I function, how I see the world and make use of it. Life without writing is like poetry without rhyme and rhythm, possible but lacking.

Some of the medieval history department function on the theory that everyone in the middle ages (322 to 1481 according to my brilliant essay on the topic) was drunk. That might have helped things, but I refuse to say it fixed all their problems – I am morally against drinking, I have to say that. Most people in time have believed in the existence of chairs and most people in time haven't had mental breakdowns with quite the frequency of the modern age (appeal to population, fallacy). They had tradition and faith, they used these tools to understand adverse circumstances. We live in an age of science, we know the chair is in our head, we do not have that liberty.

I don't know how people function without the arts, and I don't believe they do. It is dangerous to prescribe art as a tool, like religion or tradition, but I prescribe it as a salve. Start now, you are less likely to fall apart that way. So long as you don't take the 'artiste' route that is. And finger painting really is a lot of fun, though quite silly.

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