Thursday, October 15, 2009

Writing and Art Matter!

At my writing group last night, one member – I’ll call her Julia – said she was recovering from the flu. Possibly the dreaded H1N1, we decided after hearing about her symptoms. On one day, when she became dehydrated and nearly delirious, she said she kept torturing herself with the thought that her writing was worthless, that she should be spending her time doing something to “help people” instead. “I still am feeling that way a little bit,” she confessed. “It won’t quite go away.”

I know so well this tricky turn of mind, this saboteur, this ambivalence toward creating art that arrives with sickness or other vulnerabilities – an uncertain income, a move to a new city. The rest of us rallied for her, trying to dispel her grey sky that wouldn’t clear. “It helps people to write something that is cathartic for them to read.” “When we’re creating, we’re more alive, and when we’re more alive, we’re more useful to the world.” “Besides, we don’t choose our art; it chooses us. We create because we must.”

Someone asked Julia, “Is the act of writing important to you?” Suddenly our friend’s face shifted from worried to peaceful, residually sick to the picture of health, dark cloud to beaming light. “Of course,” she said, smiling.

When I took Eric Maisel’s class on creativity coaching, he asked us to begin each day by writing “I matter and my writing matters.”

Art does matter. Writing does matter. Of course.

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