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How to be an Artist. Really.

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding.
The arts are not a way to make a living.
They are a very human way of making life more bearable.
Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly,
is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.
Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories.
Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.
Do it as well as you possibly can.
You will get an enormous reward.
You will have created something.

–Kurt Vonnegut

Wow. ColorJoy, the blog, began because people kept acting like I was creative and they weren’t. They wanted to sort of put my creativity on a pedestal and make themselves more distanced, rather than creating, practicing, creating again.

Person after person said “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Everyone had a sibling who was the creative one in the family. I had a sneaking suspicion that they were selling themselves short. They said they were were not “Artists.” I felt they might be.

I believe that cooking, gardening, raising children, creating welcoming social spaces and many more activities are creative. We don’t have to perform or make pretty things which hang on walls, in picture frames, to be an artist.

It makes me sad to see that so many people distance themselves from the idea of creativity. While they are adding new herbs to a recipe, they tell themselves they are not artful. I wish I could express the feeling I get in my gut when I think about this.

I want to broaden the concept of art, not make it smaller and rare like a diamond. I imagine it as a rainbow which makes everything around it more colorful and special. Some rainbows are not as perfect as others, but we appreciate them all.

Every person has some sort of creativity in them. If you give 100 people a beige cubicle in which to sit all day while working, 100 of them will make it a little more theirs, at least by putting up photos of people or things they love and appreciate. We are driven to decorate and to nest. This is only one example of self expression.

I call it creativity. I call it art. Thus my blog theme:

ColorJoy. Art as an Everyday Attitude.

What sounds fun to create right now? Would you like to work with sound, words, color, flavor, relationship? Crayons, kazoo, vegetables, cinnamon, yarn, telephone call?

Can you imagine doing it imperfectly and calling it good, as our esteemed Mr. Vonnegut suggests? Can you give it a go and believe that doing it, doing it at all, is the perfect part?

What will you do creatively today? I assure you, it’s worth the effort. Yes, you do have the time.

Thanks to REVUE Mid-Michigan for finding this quote.

Three New Gratitudes (Day 8 of 21)

  • A spacious, light-filled bathroom with claw-footed tub.
  • A sink that has a stopper to hold water and which drains effortlessly (just over a year old, and still a daily joy).
  • The paint trim colors inside our house… soft aqua/turquoise and lavender. I’ve had these colors in 3 homes now, and they feel so joyful.

4 Responses to “How to be an Artist. Really.”

  1. Kdedmundson Says:

    Today’s gratitudes:
    -gas heat (I am such a wuss…it’s down to 43!)
    -wonton soup on a cold night
    -someone else willing to make the wonton soup for me!

  2. Ontheway Says:

    Love this, thank you for wanting to make art so reachable for everyone. I believe everyone can create something beautiful!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    At 43F, gas heat is a wonderful thing. I remember being in Africa and it was in the 50s and I just never got warm. We had one space heater for all 5 of us and even though it was a fancy home… marble floor, 2 servants… there was no central heat. I will never take a thermostat on the wall for granted again.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by. I really loved writing this creativity blog post. It’s deep in my heart, to share with as many people as possible.

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