“Unfortunately the little artists within us are choked to death before we get to fight against the oppressors of art. They get locked in. That’s our tragedy.
So what happens when little artists get locked in, banished or even killed? Our artistic desire doesn’t go away. We want to express, to reveal ourselves… The artistic impulses inside of us are suppressed but not gone.
They can often reveal themselves negatively in the form of jealously. You know the song, “I Would Love to be on TV”? Why would we love it?
TV is full of people who do what we wished to do but never got to. They dance, they act, the more they do the more they are praised. So we start to envy them. We become dictators with a remote and start to criticize the people on TV. “He just can’t act.” “You call that singing?” “She can’t hit the notes.”
We easily say these sorts of things. We get jealous not because we are evil but because we have little artists pent up inside of us. That’s what I think. What should we do? Right now we need to start our own art. Right this minute. Turn off the TV. Log off the internet. Get up and start to do something….
… In my writing class I give students a special assignment. I have students like you in the class, many who don’t major in writing. Some major in art or music and think they can’t write so I give them a blank sheet of paper and a theme: Write about the most unfortunate experience in your childhood. There’s one condition. You must write like crazy. Like crazy! I walk around and encourage them. “Come on! Come on!” They have to write like crazy for an hour or two. They only get to think for the first five minutes.
The reason I make them write like crazy is because when you write slowly lots of thoughts cross your mind. The artistic devil creeps in. The devil will tell you hundreds of reasons why you can’t write. “People will laugh at you. This is not good writing. What kind of sentence is this? Look at your handwriting!” It will say a lot of things. You have to run so fast the devil can’t catch up.
The really good writing I’ve seen in my class was not from the assignments with a long deadline but from the 40 to 60 minutes they write without knowing what they are writing. And at this moment the nagging devil disappears.
So I can say this: It’s not the hundreds of reasons why one can’t be an artist, but rather the one reason one must be that makes us artists. Why we cannot be something is not important. Most artists become artists because of the one reason.
When we put the devil in our heart to sleep and start our own art enemies appear on the outside. Mostly they have the faces of our parents or our spouses. But they are devils. Devils. They come to earth briefly transformed to stop you from being artistic, from becoming artists. And they have a magic question: “What for?”
But art is not for anything. Art is the ultimate goal. It saves our souls and makes us live happily. So in response to such a pragmatic question, we need to be bold: “Well, just for the fun of it. Sorry to have fun without you.” that’s what you should say.
“I’ll just go ahead and do it anyway.”