I shared this many years ago on an older blog and was reminded of it once again this evening. Just know that my absence in blog-land has been quietly intentional and will probably continue for a bit of time. As cliche as this might sound, I'm doing some major soul searching once again. Change must come soon.
“It matters, art does. It’s one of the noblest things, because it can make us better, and one of the scariest things, because it comes from such a deep place inside of us. There’s nothing scarier than the moment when you sing the song for the very first time, for your roommate or your wife, or when you let someone see the painting, and there are a few very long silent moments when they haven’t yet said what they think of it, and in those few moments, time stops and you quit painting, you quit singing forever, in your head, because it’s so fearful and vulnerable, and then someone says, essentially , thank you and keep going, and your breath releases, and you take back everything you said in your head about never painting again, about never singing again, and at least for a moment, you feel like you did what you came to do, in a cosmic, very big sense.
I know that life is busy and hard, and that there’s crushing pressure to just settle down and get a real job and khaki pants and a haircut. But don’t. Please don’t. Please keep believing that life can be better, brighter, broader, because of the art you make. Please keep demonstrating the courage that it takes to swim upstream in a world that prefers putting away for retirement to putting pen to paper, that chooses practicality over poetry , that values you more for going to the gym than going to the deepest places in your soul. Please keep making art for people like me, people who need the magic and imagination and honesty of great art to make the day-to-day world a little more bearable…..
So to all the secret writers, late night painters, would-be singers, lapsed and scared artists of every stripe, dig out your paintbrush, or your flute, or your dancing shoes. Pull out your camera or your computer or your pottery wheel. Today, tonight, after the kids are in bed or when your homework is done, instead of one more video game or magazine, create something, anything.
Pick up a needle and thread, and stitch together something particular and honest and beautiful, because we need it. I need it.
Thank you, and keep going.”
Cold Tangerines, Shauna Niequist