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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Month: August, 2013

Day 267: The Thing About Art

The thing about art is that everyone should make it.

If you’ve been to a museum, gallery, sculpture garden, dance performance, theater show, opera, etc., you’ve witnessed art that someone else has created. And maybe you thought it was beautiful, inspiring and insightful. Or maybe you thought it was weird, more weird and just totally weird. If the later is closer to your experience, you probably went home afterwards promising yourself that you’ll only attend another artsy thing if someone you deeply, deeply care about is involved. Or if Google and your TV both break at the same time.

The thing about the second scenario is that it’s awfully common. And it’s a crying shame. Witnessing something someone else has created is like getting to peek inside another human being’s brain while they’re dreaming. And if the dreamer has taken the time to be trained as an artist, it can be an extra-moving experience.

Because maybe their dreams are filled with bright colors, winding stories and fantastical creatures you never thought to imagine. Or maybe they contain complex scientific concepts and questions, and experiments that make the questions visibly grow and shrink. Or perhaps the dreamer’s mind is a dark, disorganized and messy tumbling whirlpool, and they’re using art to pull everything apart and examine the pieces.

Either way, it’s a privilege to witness art, even when it’s ugly.

But making art is more than a privilege. It’s a necessity. It’s a complicated and vulnerable process that gives a person equal parts frustration and joy. Creating art lets us organize, categorize, identify, explode, imagine, be selfish, ask questions, make answers, connect to God, refute God, reach to each other and find common ground.

We’re all born artists, but some of us grow up to be self-conscious adults. But for the entirety of our lives, creativity is an outlet we can access just by turning inward. And it doesn’t require anything other than a brain and a body. (And some other stuff, if you want to get complicated.)

So that’s the thing about art. Happy making.

Gerhard-Richter_4One of Gerhard Richter’s Übermalte Fotografien (painted photographs).

Day 253: More Books, Less Dates

I started writing a post about being 30 and single (which is both awesome and exhausting, much like being in a relationship at any age), but I became distracted by The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge (thanks to my college friends for posting it on Facebook within mere moments of its creation).

Anyone who watched any of the seven seasons of The Gilmore Girls knows that Rory Gilmore loved a good book. In scrolling through her character’s eclectic and sophisticated tastes, I had a sudden epiphany—

I need to read more books and go on less dates.

The Gilmore Girls

I’ve gone on more dates this year than I probably have in all of my previous years of life combined. Two thirds of them have been via online platforms—and I’ve met some really interesting, intelligent and totally not-scary people through the world wide web. I even recently downloaded Tinder, against my feelings of skeptical doom that it would be a creep-fest (it’s not).

The thing is—in my effort to go on more dates, the novelty of the first date has worn off. And the pressure of a second date is too high for me to consider. I’m in first-date burnout, second-date commitment-avoidance no-man’s land.

So, I’m turning to the books.

Of the 339 books Rory was seen reading, I think I’ve read 54 of them. But I listened to The Secret Life of Bees on tape, so I’m not sure if that counts. And if I remember correctly, I never finished As I Lay Dying because it was ridiculously depressing.

I’d like to say I’m going to jump right back into reading with something like The Portable Nietzsche, but I started Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) a few months back and recently found it in my suitcase. I’m going to start by finishing that one.

If you’re interested, you should stop dating and/or watching Storage Wars and check out the reading list with me. There are some excellent books on there.

Happy reading!