It just so happens I am an emotional creature because I am a human creature. Period. That's the story of being alive for all of us. Sometimes we feel this and sometimes we feel that. Naturally, I'm interested in the things that make me feel good but I also must not overly invest in those things because most are 99% out of my control. So why not enjoy this emotional roller-coaster journey? Why not be keenly interested in the world around me as well as the emotional world within me? And if I approach my emotions with curiousity rather than judgment, often that curiousity translates into fuel for my creative life. The trick is to be curious without drawing too many conclusions.... “I am depressed because..." or “I am sad because...” As soon as I draw conclusions, I've lost my curiousity. It's a done deal. It lacks energy. The fuel is gone.
Art-making and entering into an art piece created by someone else are cathartic in a way that defy the intellect. My artist friend Alanna and I were having a conversation and I was telling her that when I read a story by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Kay Nielsen, I find myself transported into an understanding of loss and love; an understanding that I could never get from reading a thousand self-help books or even books on spirituality. Why? Because Hans Christian Anderson does not try to give me an answer for my grief. He does not say “If you just take this step or that action, all will be well.” Alanna brought me to see that the author drew me into a world of beauty; a world where characters experience what I experience. And as I read, I feel as if I am the woman who gives up her eyes to the lake to become pearls in return for the lake transporting her to the other side where she believes her child is. I feel as if I am the one who has chosen to trade my hair for the old woman's greying hair.
The story is something I experience directly. I am at the lake with the woman. My hair has gone grey. My eyes are at the bottom of the lake as pearls. I enter the story from my heart and not from my head. My head is far to cluttered at the best of times to receive a direct experience of truth.
This is what I look for, I suppose, in art. And the thing that I look for in art, I also look for in life. That is: a beauty, a ringing truth, a journey into a place of magic that reminds me that this earth is also a place of magic. Things are too layered with emotions to be answered simply with words. We need our stories, our illustrations, our films, our music, our loved ones, our memories, our emotions, we need it all.
And when I emerge from the story, I notice the world around me looks a bit more wondrous; a smidgen of magic enters the place. Below is one such magical place. My daughter stands in the distance. And I stand watching.