Old Moon

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Art, Mankind, & Nature

Here comes another storm--slower than the original prediction. The iris are full out and gorgeous, most of the dogwood at peak, and I can't help wondering if they will all be ruined before dinner time. Rain is falling, flood watches being broadcast, and my dog is already feeling considerable consternation.

As seasons go, 2010-2011 has had more than its share of extremes. It's such a temptation for human beings to read significance into natural departures from the norm (which is determined by human calculations) that it makes you wonder how we got so self-important. I remember a lady we knew many years ago in Connecticut who declared that the (then beginning) disease threatening white ash trees was evidence of the onset of biblical warnings of the last days. The fact that her sense of doom occurred nearly fifty years ago doesn't change the alarms still going off as a result of so many catastrophes we've seen since then.

For anyone interested in what might be called "serious" writing, there seems to be so much gloom and doom in the human condition (wonderful locution that covers so much territory), it's often near impossible to tell a story or produce a poem that doesn't mirror awful or cruel or depressing aspects of mankind's existence. Reams have been written about the duty of artists. All the arguments don't agree.

Maybe each artist must allow self-interest to determine how much reality and how much fantasy, how much factual and how much hopeful, how much concrete and how much spiritual belong in his or her work. We are not all equally gifted any more than we are equally equipped to control what flows from that hidden source from which artists produce whatever they can. Maybe the best we can do is keep the faith in what we've been given with which to work.

I just hope we can find a way to tap into "inspiration" or catch the muses of comedy (Thalia) and her happier sisters for more of the poems we write and the music we compose and the pictures we paint. Surely an artist needs occasionally to do a bit of uplifting.

1 comment:

Glenda Council Beall said...

Joan, I totally agree. So much gloom and doom and I blame that on the never-ending news programs that hammer viewers with the same stories over and over until those who watch begin to lose their own ability to think.
Some become almost ill from constant watching of TV news. I have vowed I will only watch news once a day and I will try to read more than watch.
My promise to myself this year was to be more positive and thankful instead of being bitter and negative.
I have taken some flack for that but I stand by my guns.
I think we can and should find inspiration in the goodness of man and not be swayed to believe we are all "going to hell in a handbasket" as some say.