Digging In The Matter
“Art mends broken hearts, pulls people up for air, and soothes the worst pains mankind can deliver.” – Victoria S. Hardy
A friend asked for a favorite quote from an artist, and since I felt rushed, or at least didn’t want to surf websites for one - I wrote my own. It got me to thinking, though, and I suppose that is what art is about, saving us from or delivering us to our demons.
Words are so hard, and relating to the world is difficult. Pain and loss and vision and dreams and experiences are real. Yet, we live in a world that defines the parameters, and there is too much media defining us. We forget that our differences are what make us great.
Today my husband said to me that we shared the same curse of not seeing ourselves as good as we are in our personal callings. That is true. We do what we do without the confidence given to others. We struggle under the world’s rules of not feeling good enough, tall enough, thin enough, smart enough, educated enough, and forget regularly the call that has us writing or singing or painting or playing.
For whatever the reason, Chris and I grew up under burdens and they may seem simple and lackadaisical in today’s world, but broken families and dead siblings make a mark on any child. I suppose it ingrained in us a knowledge of how quickly life could change and also a sad recognition of how people accepted the changes.
God given talent, or tragedy, or heartbreak, or stunning realizations at any age opens the door, and there you are - an artist. Some of us throw it out there, others keep it safe and close - the art, the healing, and the dealing with a society we haven’t understood, or no longer understand. Some slam the door and lock it, dealing with themselves and their things in a different matter.
The world tends to define talent, and mostly it seems to change year to year – they have their talent shows and lift some folks up, while ignoring so many. We accept the judge’s decisions just as we accept so many things - as we are only allowed to see so many things. But I am beginning to grasp that the world is much vaster than the media would like us to believe.
I know great artists, and I feel so blessed to have spent time in their presence, and what I know from the great ones is that they are a little nervous, worried that they aren’t good enough, and concerned how the world views them. Great artists are odd, lovely, but odd; they may seem anti-social at times, or disconnected, but they are digging in the matter and figuring how to relay it.
Art is a way to show pain, or to rise above it. Art lifts us with color, or ink, or words, or drums, or strings, or brass, or cloth - something to sink our heads, hands, or bodies inside for a bit while transmitting messages that we don’t fully understand. Art is the poor man’s way to richness, if only for a moment. Not the richness of the media, not the richness of history, but the richness of knowing we made a difference, somehow, and someway.
Art is life. Art is history. Art is color. Art is the word. Art is the sound. Art is all the things that remind us of hope and our early beginnings. Art can be lonely. Art can be too busy. Art challenges us to find that simple voice in us, which always encourages us. Art makes us dig through the matter to find the jewel that rests inside of each of us.
Much thanks to Laura Neff for asking the question and as always keep seeking.
And below is a video of Chris Hardy's song "Digging In The Matter" with my shaky camera work as I figure out video vs. film.