Art and Life



I am facinated and intrigued by art that is rooted and grounded in actual circumstances or experiences.I guess I am primarily refering to writing as it is expressed in songs, books, screeenplays, etc.In my opinion, this is why we relate to it.This is why it touches us.This is what makes us think, feel, laugh, cry, wonder, or imagine.We’ve been there or someplace close to there.Maybe we would like to go there because we feel it really exists.

In today’s world, we seem to want to deny real life of define it how we think it should be instead of how it really is. For example, when I listen to music or watch films or television from the 1960’s or 70’s, I can see how the lives and stories of actual people or events were celebrated, even in the mainstream.This was a big change from the previous years.Now it seems like a return to a more fabricated view of reality.I am not talking about SciFi or Fantasy here.Sometimes those scenarios can be more plausible than your average T.V. sitcom or romantic comedy.

About a month ago, my husband and I went out of town with a couple other musicians to play a friend’s wedding.While we were packing up to leave our hotel room the next day, we had C.M.T. on the television.I don’t have cable T.V. at home so I catch up a little with what’s going on when we stay at a hotel.I knew that the Country Music industry had lost touch with their roots a long time ago ( I used to live in Nashville) but it seems to have gotten more ridiculous as of late.Country Music used to be about people.The songs were rich with human experience.Watching these videos, I don’t know if I could tell you much about the meaning of these songs.Well okay, one was about picking up a chick at a bar, another about hanging out on a lake with friends, and another about getting with some girl in a cornfield ( I guess that is what makes it country.) There was one song I recognized that was predictable and cliche but still listenable.It was also about 8 years old.The visual aspect was glossy and appealing to the eyes.There were well dressed and half dressed men and women driving fine cars,  smiling, laughing, and trying desperately to look sexy.Watching this made me feel empty and sluggish not unlike eating some processed food.Just writing about it drains me because I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said.Maybe it’s best to leave it alone.

I suppose art can be whatever you want it to be.In my world, it should make you feel alive.Entertainment, which can be an art in itself, can do this too.

If art comes from life than wherever we are at this moment is overflowing with potential.I have to remind myself that everyday.Overhearing conversations while standing on line, observing people around us, and relishing everyday experiences can be the inspiration for songs, poems, films, you name it.In fact, if you search it out, you will find many fictional stories have a solid basis in real life.For example, I was watching a documentary about the BBC television comedy “Are You Being Served?” which I am a fan of.The show ran from 1972 to 1985 and was an unexpected success.One of the shows creators had worked a short time at a department store which, no doubt, helped him create the idea for the show and it’s characters.No one had ever done a show about a department store and it wasn’t easy to sell the idea to the network.I don’t think anyone would have said, “Let’s do a show about a department store” if they hadn’t actually worked in one.The thought probably wouldn’t have crossed their minds.

I think that real life experiences mirrored in art have an aroma to them not unlike a home cooked meal. It may prepared with simple ingredients that have distinct flavors and textures that are comforting, and nourishing.Many times I can view my life as boring and unremarkable.In reality ( no pun intended) nothing could be further from the truth.This respect for reality has to begin with me by having a willingness to embrace each day, moment to moment, and appreciate it for what it is.

There is a verse that comes to mind.Proverbs 13:23  “Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste “While we are being bombarded with celebrity gossip and tabloid journalism, there are so many meaningful, powerful stories in the lives of ordinary people that are overlooked and ignored.We just need to scratch a little below the surface.

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