As Julia Cameron said “Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing.” There is solace in undertaking the process of creating something. For me it’s about dragging my fingers across the keyboard to form words, and ultimately pages, on the screen. It’s about scraping out the depths of whatever is affecting me at that moment in time. It could be insane happiness, a traumatic heartbreak, or the melancholy of life.
The solace isn’t just about working through what is worrying me in that moment though. Sure, if I’m upset I might write about it in my journal, or doodle flowers when I’m happy. But the heavy stuff, the really heavy stuff, I’m only able to work through when I enter the space to create. It’s a space I don’t have elsewhere in my life. It allows me to look at things from a distance. You see when I’m writing it’s like putting on a different persona. They’re my emotions and my experiences but the person writing them is an objective third party.
You may be reading this and thinking that you don’t create art. It’s only a hobby, right? It’s not something you do a lot of and you certainly don’t refer to yourself as an artist. You’re conjuring up visions of writers hunched over typewriters, photographers locked away in dark rooms, painters posed at easels scraping paint onto canvas. You just do some sketches for fun. You’re not purging your emotions and it’s certainly not something you do to find peace.
But the truth is we make choices every day that we find solace in. It’s not art on a grand scale but rather small actions we undertake each day. It’s the side of the bed we swing out of each morning. It’s the clothes we wear. The same way we style our hair every day. It’s the makeup we put on, the shoes we choose, the scent we spray ourselves with, where we work and the route we use to drive there… The list is endless.
You may not think of yourself as an artist but your actions are the proof that you do create – every single day. Isn’t there solace in that?
“You will be creating for the rest of your life. You might as well do it on purpose.” Matt Appling in Life after Art.