The world’s cray-cray. And we’re talking punch you down the throat and rip your intestines out through your mouth bat-guano crazy.
Life is stressful and it’s hard. There’s pressure everywhere. Just choosing what to eat in the morning is an ordeal. There’s pressure to do well in school, to get a good job, to make more money, to find somebody to attach our bodies to, to start a family, to have more kids, to have a bigger house and a better car.
Sometimes you’re pressured because money’s tight, because your relationship is failing and needs your attention, because your kids are getting in trouble. These things take time and they take focus.
Sometimes it’s just secondary pressure. Knowing the world is a puking mess of bile out there. It has a way of making you feel useless and helpless.
In the midst of this, it can be hard to create. When the world is just tearing down everything you build, it can be so hard to keep making.
If you thought art was an escape, you were right and you were wrong. Sure, it’s different, it gets you away from life and puts you on another plane. But there are pressures here, too. Money is always watching over your shoulder. Self-doubt will follow you. You’ll feel insufficient and futile until you want to abandon your work and flush it down the toilet and join a monastery where they’ll never know you tried to be an artist.
The world’s cray-cray.
But it’s also beautiful. And we’re talking shove you down flat and rip the wondering breath from your lungs beautiful. First kiss and to each other you’re the hottest people in the world beautiful. Open your eyes in the morning and your favorite person is smiling from the pillow next to you beautiful. Get out of bed and the sunlight’s rippling with leaf-shadows on the floor beautiful. Dance when you’re alone and you know nobody’s watching beautiful.
Living in this world isn’t easy. But it’s also the best place to live. Our job as artists is to put the world we see into another form. It entertains, but more than that it gives us a different, usually better way of looking at things. It puts life in a mirror so we can see it more clearly. Sometimes the reflection shows darkness, corruption, and pain. And sometimes it shows light and beauty and hope.
And that’s the trick. Art, or any good and true art, is a big Pandora’s box. It’s full of conflict, heartache, suffering, and death. But there’s hope in there, too.
What art does for the artist, as well as its audience, is help us to see more clearly that, even in such a hard and cruel world with all its pressure weighing down on you, there’s still beauty out there, and hope for a better world.