We have to help each other. That may sound trite, but it has come to mean a lot more to me over the last dark weeks. When my spirits flagged, I have been helped by friends and strangers with the steady flow of digitally-delivered wisdom.
One post by writer Chuck Wendig (his blog is Terrible Minds) arrived at just at the right moment:
What I mean is this: if you’re a person who Makes Art, then that’s who you are, and there’s nothing precious or small about that…Art is vital, and as such, the artist is vital for making it. Part of the goal of the chaos going on is to put a rope around your wrists, your throat, and your heart and try to stop you from making cool stuff. It’s designed to hamstring you creatively and critically. You can’t let that happen. You gotta carry on. You gotta do the work. YOU GOTTA MAKE THE THINGS.
Wendig went on to list ten things for every maker to keep in mind. These are simple statements, but they are solid. (For more details on each, go to the post, How to Create Art and Make Cool Stuff in a Time of Trouble.)
1. IT’S OKAY IF YOUR OUTPUT SLOWS
2. IT’S NOT OKAY TO STOP ENTIRELY
3. THE TOOLS OF ART ARE YOUR WEAPONS
4. ART CAN ALSO BE YOUR ESCAPE
5. SHUT IT ALL OFF FOR A WHILE
6. CONSUME ART GREEDILY IN GREAT, HEAVING GULPS
7. REMEMBER YOUR AUDIENCE
8. PRACTICE SELF-CARE
9. MAKE A CHANGE
10. YOU MATTER, THIS MATTERS, YOU CAN DO IT
Here’s one more shout out. My friend, poet Fanny Howe, is interviewed in the latest issue of The Paris Review. She discusses her new collection of essays, The Needle’s Eye, and she shares her worthy and wise Fannyisms.
When asked about “the value of poetry in such a brutal world,” Fanny is ready with her response:
You’d have to ask that about all the arts. They lift everyone up. If you ask what good is music you’d say it’s an absurd question. Poetry is innate. You can’t not have poetry if you want to have a whole human being. I heard a Brazilian man at a party say, I hate going to poetry readings but my brain loves hearing it.
A student asks a poignant question: “What do you do if you have no belief?” Fanny’s answer is right in line with what I have come to know:
There are always the arts and they are just as good as reading theology with belief. I feel that the person making the art and the person seeing the art are engaged in a transcendent experience.
So here’s to being whole human beings, to participating in transcendent experiences, to sharing our wisdom with each other. Onward my friends.