plural noun: the arts expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. The various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.
I find that getting into a writing routine is much like getting into an exercise routine.
If I get up and make it a priority first thing in the morning, instead of putting it off until later in the day, I actually get it done and don’t really have to think about it anymore. Plus, I’m riding the endorphin wave, which I experience both after exercise and writing. It’s a blissful, balanced high that lasts all day.
The rapper Macklemore has a great song called “Ten Thousand Hours” about how it takes that amount of time to become proficient in something. One of his lyrics is: “The greats weren’t great because they were born great. The greats were great because they paint a lot.” That’s such a true statement.
I’m not saying people aren’t born with an extreme talent or genius for something that others are not—there are definitely incredibly, genetically gifted people in the world of art, music, sports, science, technology, and so on. But they took their gift and turned it into a universal gift, and that’s what I believe is the true discovery of one’s bliss. To take something that ignites your passion and helps you feel unique, creative, confident—to practice and hone your gift and share it with the greater good—is complete, universal connection. Joy emits joy.
That’s why the arts are so important, and why I’m so heartbroken that so much funding for the arts and education is getting slashed by the Trump Administration. Could you imagine if we tried to take away sports programs locally and nationwide? The far right would have a historical meltdown.
The patriarchal society we live in—which is especially embraced in the conservative arm of politics—thrives on masculine values: winning, conquering, owning, hoarding “what’s mine,” taking away what we believe isn’t yours, rules, and regulations. Patriarchal society doesn’t really accentuate or support more feminine energies: working together, sharing, communication, and empathy. Sports encompasses a very masculine energy—with teamwork and fairness among its great qualities. The arts tend to have a more feminine energy of raw emotion, harmony, compassion, and surrender.
I feel like this attack on the arts is a clear sign that the jocks are running the country. The mentality I see when it comes to arts funding is, “Who needs art? It’s only for pussies and fags.” Total small town America high school mentality. I should know, I grew up and went to high school in a small American town.
We can’t deny this attack on the arts, the nature of art, what it represents, and the artists themselves. I’m not sure what you would call this…bigotry? Ignorance? But I do feel like the artists are being bullied by the jocks these days, and this current administration feeds that fire—kinda gets off on it, really. There’s no feminine energy in this administration; even our first lady is M.I.A. 99 percent of the time.
If it wasn’t for theatre and dance, I don’t know what would’ve happened to me when I was younger. My summer theatre camps were the highlight of my year. It was the place I learned to be free and find myself. I learned to communicate and find empathy and compassion for the human experience. I felt heard and appreciated by both others and my own spirit. I don’t know who I would be without music—literally, my own personal Jesus. Music saves lives, end of story. Music and theatre—and all the arts—are a vital salve in our society, because they force us to think on a deeper level.
Art opens our third-eye, the one that sees beyond the fourth dimension and moves our spirits and our souls. Art is akin to a religious experience, because when I really submerge myself in good music, good writing, great acting, amazing films, photographs, and paintings, it takes me to a place that only exists between the art and myself. It is a place we may not see, except for through our mind’s eye, but we feel it deeply in our core. It speaks to us and through us. The effects of art can renew and rebirth a sick society. However, we must first have access to it in order to invite it into our lives.
We are a sick society. We are so out of balance. The more we close our hearts, or make it really difficult for others to experience, learn, or teach the sacred beauty of the arts, the more unbalanced we are going to get. A world without the arts turns into a world without a universal conductor—just a lonely planet with an immobile metronome.
So, I ask a favor of you.
Today, take time to listen to your favorite song, read a well-loved poem or book, watch your favorite film, or play your favorite video game. Get lost and feel the joy, but remember—without access, funding, and artists, none of those euphoric aphrodisiacs would exist.
Also remember, there are some people who live in a society where they are forbidden to enjoy the arts and/or certain music, films, or sites on the internet. Play your favorite song ever, and turn it up extra loud for those who can’t. And in that moment, just feel the joy, and be grateful for the hand you were dealt.
Author: Erika Anne Soerensen
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Travis May