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

Tag: everyone

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 90: She’s Funny

I started dating a guy (not from the Internet, although I do think he would appreciate my burning gingerbread house profile picture) who likes reading my blogs out loud to me. It’s a sweet but strange experience that makes me painfully aware of my tendency to use awkwardly long lists and excessive qualifiers.

A couple of evenings ago, he read aloud to me while I sat on the couch and tried to concentrate on a riveting episode of Chopped. In response to my squirming and grumbling, he amicably switched to reading someone else’s blog out loud. I liked that much better until he laughed and said, “She’s funny!”

In general, I don’t feel necessarily competitive (I was more of a “social athlete” in college), but I did feel a little “Oh-no-she-isn’t” twinge kick an extra beat into my heart. Three funny blogs in, I asked him to please go back to reading mine out loud instead.

Days later, I’m trying to figure out what stirred in me. Was it blog envy? Some kind of primal urge to mark my digital territory? Could I have been jealous of her humor prowess?

One of the wonderful things about blogging is that everyone can do it, regardless of how “good” they are. Any 13-year-old with public library access and a dash of tenacity can scoop up some online earth to call their own. So, I’ve always been comfortable knowing there are bloggers out there who are funnier, smarter, deeper, more cultured and more well-read than I am (even some of those 13-year-olds). They challenge the rest of us to be better writers.

As this post is read aloud to me, I’ll listen quietly and dig deep into my soul to source the cause of my discomfort. I’ll also try to use more metaphors.

Day 44: We All Do It

Here are six things you probably do and think no one else does (but they do):

1. Not-so-quietly call everyone ahead of you in the airport security line an “amateur” and then proceed to be the worst prepared traveler ever.

You usually remember to put your liquids in a plastic baggie, but it’s buried somewhere underneath the five-pound bag of trail mix you need to sustain yourself on the two-hour flight. And last time you were in line, you double-knotted your shoe laces and made everyone behind you wait while you tried to untie your shoes with one hand and unzip your laptop case with the other.

2. Sing in the shower because you think other people do it and not because you actually like singing in the shower.

Nobody likes singing in the shower (except maybe the professionals).

3. Pretend you’re asleep.

Maybe you haven’t done it since you were five years old and wanted your dad to carry you from the car to the house (driveways can be very long). Or, maybe you did it yesterday when you heard your partner and/or housemate come home and you knew s/he wanted you to organize the junk drawer. Pretending to be asleep is oftentimes the perfect avoidance maneuver. The only problem is that we all do it, so we all know you’re pretending.

4. Realize you’re wrong during an argument and keep arguing anyway because you don’t know what else to do.

You know the moment—when you’ve been passionately making a point and you realize you either meant to make the opposite point or you actually don’t know what you’re talking about. At that moment, there’s really no turning back, so you keep going until both parties are confused by your vehemence.

5. Say you watch less TV than you actually watch.

We’ve all seen the research about how TV rewires and/or rots the brain. But one half-hour, once per week? Please. Downton Abbey counts.

6. Envision doing something inappropriate at a really inopportune time.

Whether it’s reciting the last scene of Die Hard during your niece’s baptism or unsuccessfully attempting the tablecloth trick on that couple sitting next to you at dinner, you maintain a high (but stifled) potential for inappropriate outbursts at any given time.