Seeking solace in art
..As an antidote to The World
My personal world is bit upside down right now with all of our furniture piled in one room of our small home as the floor in the rest of the house is awaiting repair. When work people are here we are trying to keep the dogs amused elsewhere. It’s been a kooky , chaotic time. This was my original intent in scribing this post a few days ago. It feels so miniscule and trivial and whiny considering what our larger world is up against.
Today is just another rainy day in my sheltered peaceful country setting..
I feel gutted, heartbroken , helpless and raw . My usual practise of avoiding the horribleness of the world has collapsed. Without diving into the depths of horror and fear I think you might be feeling the same way of recent events as they unfold before us from our safe vantage point via media.
When I was a very small girl of 5 or 6 I fought the boys who picked on my friends. The fighting involved tumbling around on the ground , grabbing each others clothes and really not much else. Injured egos in the struggle . No visible wounds. I knew that it was not the right way to settle things -and if someone ended up in tears then it ultimately made me feel bad.
When I was a child of about 7 I watched a war movie (part of a double feature at a drive -in -(the main feature I recall was Clarence the Cross eyed Lion) with my family from my place in the back seat of our car I covered my eyes and trembled as violent events exploded on the huge screen. Compared to now it was a tame film in the 60’s but as a child not exposed to the visuals of the harm war can do I was mortified and sick. It caused me to have nightmares for a time.
In later years the televising of the Vietnam war also brought the reality of war into our living rooms. So much more horror since -but to a young person this was nightmarish and quickly solidified my values as being aligned with peaceniks of the time . I might not have understand the political mechanisms but my my body and soul knew it was wrong to kill others. I recall sitting in my guitar class waiting room at ten years old and picking up a news magazine with graphic photo depictions of the harm in a part of the world that I was unfamiliar with but increasingly represented the dark and horrible side of the human condition.
As a teenager I sought solace in poetry,music and my own writing. I clipped articles from the newspaper that supported a peaceful and humanist stance.
In much later years as a young adult I could not comprehend how a fight could break out (in one of the dives I frequented )between people who did not even know each other ! I would hide under a table or escape if possible as the glasses and fists and tables were flying.
Violence has always rattled and terrified me.
In my working days with youth in city community centre settings and on the street I learned to tune in to the signs of escalation and to try to de-escalate before violence erupted. Sometimes I was successful .
Currently I do not choose to watch movies with gratuitous violence.
I worry about how children (and adults!) are exposed to so much more online in gaming/movies etc than that low budget movie from the 60s. How much desensitization must occur .
I yearn a little for intelligent discourse and measured responses. I wish healing and sanity to return .
Today writing here helps a little. I have no interest in polarizing or political discourse here. I am reeling from the horror like so many others.. seeking something else. My head is not in the sand and there is a place to discuss, to mull, to confront biases etc. but not here. A few years back there was something called Conversation cafes mostly encountered and organized in larger urban settings. Moderated discussions about meaningful events and politics open to different points of view. Loosely organized in local cafes to encourage dialogue and community. I have a hunger for this as I fret about how so much breaks down and escalates into harm and violence as a solution.
Although I have a very small wedge of an area to make art in the room -with -all -the- furniture piled up ..I feel compelled to make. I found a small handmade sketchbook with the old book cover which read “Istanbul”(a travel book) -I changed it to Inktober 2023. With this time carved out for drawing I draw my present life with prompts to reflect on the small positive things that occur in my world. It’s not a fix..
It’s merely what I need to do to calm my soul in the midst of the seemingly unmendable disasters unfolding.
A few weeks ago in a parking lot I discovered a handwritten note on my windshield .
Luckily I was across the road in town from my car repair shop. The tire was toast.
If not for the the person who stopped and took the time to write the note for me -I would have probably been stuck on the highway somewhere on the way home -stuck (or worse!).
So a small act that had huge impact for me -making my heart swell with the thoughtfulness of this action.
There is indeed evidence in these times when we look for it -of humanity.
I cling to this nugget of hope .May we all spread a little good in the world and pay attention to these acts of kindness as they surface. May we speak out against the harm.
How are you doing with so much awry in the larger world ?
Can you or are you finding a little bit of solace from making art ?