Creative Practice

Creating in response to life

On Labor Day I had the wonderful experience of going to a show at Red Rocks. A few days before, a friend generously invited me to go with her and a couple other friends. Despite living in Colorado for over a decade and going to Red Rocks for various events, I had never been there for music. We were there to see Patty Griffin and Amos Lee. While the music was incredible, I was really struck by the stories Amos told to introduce some of his songs. One of my favorite takes on life is Neil Gaiman’s speech to students graduating from University of the Arts where he implored them to “make good art” in response to whatever life throws their way. I was introduced to this speech when I was going through some significant changes in life and I appreciate this video being brought to my attention.

As Amos was about to sing some of his songs he would say how it was written in response to a person or event in his life. One of the songs he said he wrote in his 1989 Nissan Sentra. Sometimes we think we need the perfect circumstances or environment for us to create but what if we just created in response to whatever is striking us at the moment and wherever we might be? Taking that moment to feel and respond is possibly the best self-care available to us.

So, this gives me an opportunity to shout out one of my life dreams. Being a former social worker and art teacher (two separate careers), I feel it’s really important to be able to express your feelings, and all forms of art are a great, healthy avenue for this. I have this dream to be a part of or create an organization that makes learning to express yourself through the arts accessible to all. Now that I’ve said it, I guess I better find a way to work towards it!

My portrait of Amos Lee.

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