Friday, March 1, 2019

Suffering Artists (Two Branches)

You do not have to suffer for your art.  You shouldn't be expected to bleed trauma onto the page or stage for the masses.  You have a right to find joy, peace, connection, or any number of facets in creation.

The mythology of the "suffering artist" is often used to make downtrodden, creative folks stay on a path of isolation and pain.  It's supposed to hurt, society tells us.  We're supposed to endure.  But, agony shouldn't be a constant state of being.

Following any passion requires sacrifice... true.  There will be arduous parts of your career.  Ultimately, art should nourish you more than wound.
Notions of suffering propelling art are so romanticized in certain circles that some artists bemoan not being targets of bigotry or oppression.  They crave the flavor it would add to their work.  A truly privileged position, to think of trauma as an accessory!

Instead of counting themselves lucky, they practically demand front-row access to torment they have no right to.  They soak it up vicariously and try to regurgitate it for their own audiences—losing nuance and depth for faux-gravitas.

An important fact the rhetoric ignores:  Art can heal.  It defines the knots of past wounds.  It can show others the shape of someone else's pain and help them understand.  Pain is not a currency.

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