The Purpose

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” Dr. Martin Luther King

“…then what are we fighting for?” Winton Churchill – when asked to cut funding for the arts in favour of the war effort.

“Art washes away from the soul, the dust of every day life.” Pablo Picasso

Times are bad. Really bad… Mass shootings, political unrest, natural disasters, sex abuse scandals, threat of nuclear war, poverty, illness… I could go on. How do we even get ourselves out of bed in the morning? I suppose everyone has a way to cope. After all, here we are, right? But as artists –and by artists I mean anyone involved in creative work– we may ask ourselves, what is the use? What practical purpose does my writing, painting, poetry, photography, music, dance, woodworking, quilting, sculpting, and so on, and so on, serve?

I began this piece with those quotes for a reason. They encapsulate the purpose for art in all its forms. To shine a light in the darkness. To give an outlet for our emotions, be that joy expressed in laughter or deepest sorrow when we are moved to tears. Without art, without creativity, we are automatons: eating, sleeping, working, consuming. Repeat.

The arts allow us to escape but for a brief time from the troubles of real life. Art is good for the mind, for the heart, for the soul. It helps us articulate our feelings, gives us cathartic release. Why do you think we sing songs and recite poetry at funerals? Because the music or the beautiful verses give us a channel for our grief.

So if you’re ever asking yourself what’s the point, remind yourself that you as an artist, in whatever form you create, are one of the stars in the darkness. 

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31 thoughts on “The Purpose

  1. I loved reading this, Doc. I’m in a funk right now, for many of the same reasons you mentioned. But you’re right. It is an outlet. And one that shouldn’t be dismissed or taken for granted. Thank you for posting this. I, and likely many others, needed it. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking of you when I wrote this actually. After reading your comments yesterday on another post. I know how I’m feeling right now and I’m sure others are too. You have to give yourself a reason to keep going…..

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      1. That’s so true. Because, right now? I just feel like running and hiding out somewhere. Even my camera is disappointing me right now. I guess I’ll just do what I tell other peeps: just keep snapping. 😃

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    1. Thanks, Dee. I’m sorry about everything you’ve been going through. You do have to give yourself time to grieve especially when the hits keep coming. Expressing it creatively helps to purge it somehow. Or relieve the pressure a little… Sending my love!

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      1. Thanks, Meg. I’ve been reading a lot – Avoidance, I think. Or escapism, whatever. Have u read anything by Janet Dailey? She has a trilogy about three brothers (Trust, Honor and Triumph) very much mystery, a tiny bit of romance, no sex really. Reminded me of your style of writing. The sexual tension increases a little as the books go on, but nothing more than some charged kisses d comfort embraces. Very believable…

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      2. I think I have read JD. It’s been a while, though. But pretty sure I enjoyed them. Thank you for the comparison- that’s awesome! I’ve been reading more, too. Something I always preach about and then fall short of doing myself!

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    1. I think you don’t realize the effect what you do has on others. Even though you have written fiction for a while, your personal posts touch people who struggle with the same kinds of things. And your photography is its own kind of art form. Humans like to look at intriguing images. That’s what you do, that makes someone happy. 🤗

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