Thursday, February 10, 2011

But why do we write?

Or make art at all?

My mother kept one of my first drawings. It is a figure drawn on red construction paper. When she asked me what it was I said, 'a girl in a red dress'. What this tells me is I had nothing in mind when I drew it. I only named it after being asked.

But what compelled me to draw it?

Trust me; there was nothing in my environment, at the age of three, that would encourage me to draw pictures. I may have been receiving positive feedback by the time I was five because by then I was in public school and scribbling like a demon. But WHY?

Nobody seems to know.

I hopped in the Wayback Machine and returned to CalArts where we discussed this subject ad nauseum sometimes in our right heads, sometimes not so much. People feel compelled to make things, to communicate. It is only later that they articulate reasons for these actions and, of course, by then there are all kinds of grown up people type reasons. "I want to make a difference." "I want to communicate my feelings." Still, there is no answer to the question But WHY?

A blog I sometimes frequent, The Greater Good, interviewed several artists and asked them this question. The one that resonated the most strongly for me was Kwame Dawes:

"I write in what is probably a vain effort to somehow control the world in which I live, recreating it in a manner that satisfies my sense of what the world should look like and be like."

That comes close to the little-me who drew a girl on red construction paper. I have Aspergers and was very withdrawn, so I drew a lot. Later, I escaped into books and still later I attempted to alter the world of books in a way that suited me and my reality. I. E. a world peopled with Lesbian, Gay and gender queer people trying to re-write the rules and find some kind of happiness.

Somewhere in there come the readers. I haven't yet figured out where, except I am pleasantly surprised to find you here in my little world... hello!

Just as I wrote this, I read Nathan Bransford's blog and saw that he is writing along the same lines, but of course more fluently.

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