I think about art a lot. Here’s the thing: You do too. We all do. As a society, though, we don’t really talk about that.
It’s a huge detriment because, as a people, we tend to walk around thinking art doesn’t impact us. But then we’ll listen to Marvin Gaye while in a text chat about how great Ted Lasso was and end the conversation with a gif from The Office before we sit down to stream the latest Pixar flick with our kids for pizza and a movie night where even the pizza box has a cartoon on it.
We are addicted to art, as we should be, but we don’t talk much about it as art. Sure, we talk about box office takes or gossip about actors, but we rarely talk about why we need art.
” … each post will highlight a different work of art or artist, be it a poem, book, movie, show, person, painting, or what have you, and I’ll think about how it helps me reflect on our contemporary world”
So why do we need art? There are endless reasons, but in this blog I’ll focus on one: Art helps us evaluate our own lives in this entropic world. Life is wild and weird. Art helps us think about it. We are always the main character in our own minds. This is a human condition, for better or worse, and art gives us a way to examine, reflect, and think about who we are, how we should be, and who we want to be tomorrow.
I’m an educator by trade, and that world is filled with grants for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and while that is obviously all valuable to our society too, we must remember to focus on art too. Our bridges and computers and vaccines make life easier and save our very lives, but art gives us meaning, or, more to the point, it helps us find meaning. If it’s the stem that keeps our world moving, then maybe art is in the roots.
By no means will this blog ever be all-encompassing. We also haven’t blogged much as a society in a decade, but I’ll try to recapture that old second-draft (at best) feeling we used to get when blogging was more common. I’m also a poet, a genre of writing that usually requires seemingly endless revisions, so I’ll try to not do that over here. I’ll think out loud instead of overthinking things. Please keep that in mind when you read them! Please?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how literature helps us process life, people, politics, existential dread, and everything else. There is a trend in publishing right now where some editors think writers should avoid writing about COVID altogether. Apparently they think people want escapism and don’t want to think about real problems. Langston Hughes didn’t do that. Picasso didn’t do that. Toni Morrison didn’t do that. I’m thankful. Escapism is wonderful, but all art is political and never truly escapist. It all comes back to us, our lives, ourselves.
The goal here, then, is that each post will highlight a different work of art or artist, be it a poem, book, movie, show, person, painting, or what have you, and I’ll think about how it helps me reflect on our contemporary world. I hope you enjoy reading these posts and that they spur some thinking and discussion of your own. Or at least a nice Ted Lasso gif.