Art is a life raft. Many who become artists did so because they found refuge in art from some traumatic aspect of their early lives. I know I did. For me, it was about finding a safe creative space from which I could weather the stormy emotional seas of having an alcoholic father. It actually was through that creative process that I became aware of the healing aspects of it and in the end was able to forgive him and even love him for the man he was trying to be outside the disease. This has been the case for me throughout my life.
I don’t remember her name, but a young blind pianist once said “music is what feelings sound like.” Another quote I recall is “music is the point where the spiritual and the emotional meet.” All art is a window into another point of view. When we experience art it is a communion between the artist and beholder. We get to see through their eyes, and hear through their ears. In fact, all we really have in life is our own particular and unique point of view. I wrote a small verse about it called “Blip.”
My blip is all I have
My fleeting point of view.
I am over in an instant and then
Blip—so are you.
Art has the power to connect us and that creates the potential for empathy which can lead to acceptance which can lead to love and even forgiveness. My creative life has given me solace, inspiration, release, insight, opportunity. I am continually transformed by it. In fact we all create our lives everyday. When you stop to think about it, our lives are just one big improvisation. Even in the routine of daily life we are improvising—our conversations, thoughts, actions, and even emotions are being “made up” as we go along. That’s not to say we can’t plan ahead, but even then we adapt to the moment once it comes. I guess in that regard, life is jazz—improvising through time and space while anticipating and reacting to the changes. We are all artists creating on a daily basis that art which is our lives.
George S. Clinton is an American composer, songwriter, arranger, and session musician. This writing is excerpted from Love, Live, Forgive.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does art as a life raft mean to you? Can you share a personal experience of a time that art transformed you? What creative endeavors have helped in healing you?