I know, art isn’t always pain.

I never know what to write here. Sometimes I open up a new draft and sit down and at worst it’s like my brain got drunk and passed out. At best I’m the airport attendant who issues you your boarding pass and checks your bags, only no one is in line and there aren’t any flights going anywhere, so what am I to do? Just twiddle my thumbs and imagine all the trips I’d love to take.

It’s not just writer’s block or a lack of ideas. I think there’s plenty in my life that would be interesting to write about. I think that’s the case for most of us even though we struggle with the words. I recently read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert at the behest of one of my favourite co workers. She’s someone who really gets me and could pretty much be me we are so in synch. When she recommended I read it, I bumped it in line ahead of 5 other booked recently lent to me to read and plowed through it in 2 days.  Not because I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert (I only read the first 100 pages of Eat, Pray, Love, although I do mean to finish it), but because it seemed like a pretty relevant book to me at this point in my life. She talks a lot about creative living, inspiring the reader to create, create, create like it’s our birthright… because it is. I remember when I started this blog I felt like it was a major channel for my own creative living. I basically rediscovered my love of poetry because I decided to open a wordpress account one day. A lot of my poems exist because I suddenly had this empty canvas to put them on. This blog, though monstrously neglected, means a lot to me because I know it’s here, waiting for me. My own little universe of creative living.

I think one of the biggest things I took from the book is that your art doesn’t have to come at the cost of your happiness. You don’t have to be pained to be an artist, although it sure fuels a lot of creative work. When I think about it, though, when you’re happy, you’re happy, right? You have all this happiness energy that you exude and pour out into the world, to the people around you, and it’s a joy to do. Happiness energy is readily accepted by those around you, it amps up the happiness energy in others and everyone falls into this trap of idiotic bliss where everything is possible, so why not conquer the world? But when you’re hurt, you have to try to contain it somehow. You have to go to work, to the store, and unless you’re an asshole you have to do your best to contain the pain inside yourself so that it doesn’t taint others. And that’s where the art comes in. Since we can’t let the pain loose like we can with happiness we have to put it somewhere, right? Something has to diffuse it or it’ll destroy you. At least that’s why I think I put so much of it into poetry, and the rest of it I just dance or yoga out. After channeling all my hurt into a poem at least I can look at it and say it was all for something.

I’m not saying I only enjoy writing and creating when I’m miserable, I love creating all the time, it’s just that it feels more necessary and potent at times when I’m at critical breaking point, you know?

Semi-related, but did you guys know there’s an awesome poetry community over on instagram? I’ve been posting a lot of smaller poems there, random thoughts that come into my head (even the happy ones!) If you guys are also on there leave your name in the comments so I can find you! You can find me over there as @taehreh.

Hope you all have a beautiful day!

14 thoughts on “I know, art isn’t always pain.

  1. There is a popular conception that the writer has to suffer or to know suffering in order to write. I believe that empathy is more important in a writer than experience – an understanding of the human condition allows the writer to convey much. And if only experience enabled good writing, then all good writers would have to be as silver as I – and that is far from the case – there is extraordinary talent in the young.

    I have written desperately sad (probably maudlin!) pieces while in some of the happiest times of my life. Yet I agree – when you are hurt, or low, or lost, or grieving, the act of writing is a) something you almost have to do – it seems to have a point and b) is immensely cathartic. And it maybe my own bias, but that work which comes out of my pain seems to have greater resonance and power.

    Ah, I have rambled on your blog. I apologise. It is a thought provoking piece of yours.

    1. Don’t apologise! I wish people would ramble here more often. And yes I totally agree. Empathy is so very important for creators. I’ve had to tune into empathy a lot in the past while learning choreography, etc. We have to find the authenticity in everything we create, after all.

  2. Possibly my favorite line: “Everyone falls into this trap of idiotic bliss where everything is possible, so why not conquer the world?” 😀
    I get it, though. I look over my poetry (though I don’t think this is the right way to feel) & feel somewhat ashamed that practically every line of every poem is just plain sad. I feel like my poetry displays me as a depressed, hopeless, wallowing in her own despair kind of individual. And, that isn’t me. But I try to remember that my happy moments are so brilliant in their way that I don’t have words for those experiences. Pain, it can be so blunt the words form themselves, but happiness… that can be an untouchable feeling.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that, inspiration is inspiration, whether it’s good/bad, positive/negative, happy/sad. Poetry is beautiful either way because, like you said, it’s expression, an outlet, a blank canvas that you can fill with whatever the heck you want.
    I hope this rant isn’t too confusing! 😁

    1. Nooo not at all!! Haha that’s exactly how I feel too. I feel like most of my recent poems have been just heart break heart break heart break and while that’s true, my life is so much more than that! But you’re right, inspiration is inspiration and who are we to judge ourselves for what experiences become poems and which do not?

      Love your rant! Thanks for leaving it 😊😊

  3. I have to admit when I’m happy, like when dating Annabelle, I don’t write as much or as fervently. I’m happy. I don’t need to vent it. That or most my writing was just for her, personal things I didn’t really mean to show anyone else. I mean, I wrote her hundreds of thousands of words which will never see the light of day in a year time. Oh love, you cruel cruel thing. Anyway, just happy to see you’re writing.

  4. “I basically rediscovered my love of poetry because I decided to open a wordpress account one day. A lot of my poems exist because I suddenly had this empty canvas to put them on. This blog, though monstrously neglected, means a lot to me because I know it’s here, waiting for me.”

    I feel like I could have written these words! My blog is basically what encouraged me to write and share poetry. I wrote a few poems, posted them, they went over well and I had fun, and it started me on this crazy writing journey. And while I have not been very active lately, the fact that my blog is here, ever-waiting for me, consistently encourages me to think about writing and actually write, even if it is sporadic at times. And I do feel that poetry is probably the most cathartic thing for me. I write sad or longing poems as well as happy, let’s-go-on-an-adventure type poetry when I’m feeling really good! For me, writing about an emotion or situation, and maybe even exaggerating that feeling within a poem, brings me so much comfort. It’s like I have captured and recorded the emotion. It brings the relief that explaining a crazy day to your best friend brings. Once it’s here you can show it to people, and it’s like “YES. THIS IS WHAT I FEEL.” Not only does it somehow release me of negative emotions but it’s just plain satisfying to record that feeling, that situation, whatever it might be.

    But certainly pain is easy to write about for those reasons you gave. I even WROTE a poem about how when we’re happily busy having a life we don’t feel a need to “explode” on the page. (Though if I’m really happy it can happen!)

    1. Yes!! You said it so perfectly. I really feel like my most authentic self comes out through my poetry, even more so than when I’m trying to communicate with someone verbally… it’s like regular old conversation isn’t adequate enough to convey what I’m feeling. Funny.

      I’m so glad I found my way to this community. Even when I’m absent for months I know I can come back and find so much support and so many wonderful people who are sharing their own words. 🙂

      Thanks so much for this wonderful response!! I appreciate it so much. xo

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