How does one reconcile the perfect beauty of a new life with all its purity, innocence and joy with what one reads in the daily newspapers? When an artist thinks about creating a work, do you consider making something beautiful or socially significant, so as to help make the world a better place? (I suppose one can also make socially significant beautiful art but that is another discussion).
So I returned a month or so ago from visiting a new grandchild. What, you might ask, does this have to do with the creative process? Well, it raised a very tough question in my mind which I had difficulty resolving.
Being in the presence of a newborn baby is an awe-inspiring experience. There is something so magnificent and flawless about this little person. It is life in its purist, most uncontaminated form. It is how we all entered this world and is universal to mankind.
And then there is this other world one confronts when reading the news, stories on every conceivable evil that man is capable of… the fundamentalists who feel justified in killing women who do not conform to what they believe is the correct dress, famine, the debates about abortion, the repression of Burmese citizens by one of the most cruel dictatorships in the world today. How does one reconcile these extremes?
This was a question I posed while at a residency at Ragdale. One of the residents, Patty Patterson, (a wonderful writer) left this for me in my mailbox the next day…
“In a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart.” Louise Bogan
The following day I found this in my mailbox…
"….what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” Don Pedro Arrupe