This summer I was struck with the poignant desire to do more. To read more. To write more. To create more. Perhaps this was due in part to the recent changes in my life. After finishing my piano performance degree, there was a sudden void of creativity. I had been used to working for several hours a day towards the goal of being a successful pianist, and now I had nothing to work on. Through this sudden absence of a creative outlet, The Culture Columns was born. Throughout the summer and into this early fall, I have been writing a lot. However, lately I have been grappling with this question: is creativity frivolous and unimportant? If I’m really frank, this blog does not get very many views and I’m certainly not making any money by running it. So I’ve been questioning my own motives: Why do I continue to write? Why do I spend all of my free time writing blogposts, brainstorming new blogposts, and writing constantly? Am I wasting my time? What is the point of it all?
These are the very scary questions that I have been wrestling with. In reply to “am I wasting my time?” the answer is a resounding: NO. And the answer to “what is the point of it all?” is that writing makes me very happy. If I go even a few days without journaling or making lists of everything that I want to create, I suddenly become the most boring, caged, and unhappy version of myself. I get up early on Saturday mornings to work on blog posts and I stay up late after a long shift at work just to journal. I would not do this if it did not fulfill a deep desire of my soul. I must create and I must write in order to maintain the sparkling positivity that makes every day life joyful. Because of this, I must draw the conclusion that creativity is not frivolous. Your art does not have to be great. Your art does not have to be shared with thousands of people. Your art does not have to be featured in The New York Times. Your art only asks to be created.
A person who particularly exemplifies this idea of creativity for the sake of one’s own happiness is the well-known American artist, Grandma Moses. Throughout her life as a farmer’s wife, “Grandma Moses” loved creating beautiful things. As a lifelong artist, Grandma Moses spent most of her life embroidering. However, once reaching her 70s, Grandma Moses developed terrible arthritis which forced her to put away her needlework and so she instead switched to painting. “I painted for pleasure, to keep busy and to pass the time away,” she recalls, “but I thought no more of it than of doing fancy work.” One of her paintings was displayed in a local drugstore, where it caught the eye of a prominent art collector. And thus at 76 years old, Grandma Moses’ career as an artist was launched. The point of this story is not that Grandma Moses “made it big” after 70+ years of being unknown. No. The beautiful thing is that she painted and embroidered and created her whole entire life. Not for fame or money or attention, but for no other reason than it made her supremely happy. I read a quote recently that particularly resonated with me.
“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”
How beautiful is that? So go write that poem. Go draw that flower. Go read that novel. Be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire because creativity is never frivolous.
(P.S. The photo at the top of this post is a sneak peek of the next Fashion Fridaze. Make sure to check back on Friday for Part 2 of the “Creativity is Not Frivolous” series for some fabulous photos of a colorful outfit and a huge field of sunflowers.)