What I believed I was doing in my life before cancer:
I had been thinking of the difference between a person with no imagination (surely a figment?) and people who read for fun, who make and look/listen at/to art, who are in general capable of being transported by something creative, of seeing and inventing based on mere potential.
Art teaches us to SEE, because it helps us look in unfamiliar places. Or familiar places with new eyes. Art shows us that meaning is often constructed from gossamer wings and ephemeral bones. We don’t just find meaning in the world as something excavated or discovered preexisting, but sometimes we invent it out of shameless and unexcused possibility. There is much more to the world than the ‘given’, and it is art’s duty to not only explore this but show the magnificent expanse beyond the merely existing and leaden ‘facts’. We don’t just receive the world, we bring it into existence.
Art springs into the world a vengeful Angel, destroying our preconceptions, removing old shadows and dismantling obstructions. Art kindles fires from which to see the world anew and light the way forward. An unexplored territory.
We are not victims of poetry, as if we were strapped into place and have to endure it. We bring poetry TO the world from our own capacity to see and to love. We don’t just have the world because we have undergone an experience of it. We have the world because we are responsible for creating it.
EVERYONE is an artist.
After my diagnosis I had to be reminded of this. As Camus said, “I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain. One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself, forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”