June 14, 2020

Art and Selfishness

In the era of the pandemic and violent racism, it's worth thinking about the value of one's time and whether writing poems or stories or essays is useful. In any case, this does not need to be either/or. One can nurture others, become an activist and write. Rebecca Solnit writes her insights:

Work and the Myth of the Art Monster
Creativity and Advocacy Are No More (Or Less) Selfish Than Motherhood
By Rebecca Solnit

There is certainly more self involved in artmaking, or some kinds of it, in that it is often solitary, usually introspective, and sometimes personal, but that plunge into the depths may be as much about dismantling the blithe vanities of the unexamined life as celebrating yourself. Even though you write out of a deep solitude, you generally write because you want to say something to other people, and you secretly hope it will benefit them in some way, by offering pleasure or new insight into the familiar or visions of the unfamiliar or just descriptions of the world and our psyches that make the world new and strange and worthwhile again.
Writing is work that can hold up its head with all the other kinds of useful work out there in the world and it is genuinely work. Good writers write from love, for love, and often, somehow, directly or otherwise, for the liberation of all beings, and the kindness in that is immeasurable.
Read the entire essay at LitHub: