Art: What the Heck is it?

I’ve been sitting at my desk in this grey day, listening to the wind huff and puff and rush outside, like it actually has someplace to go, something to do besides mess up people’s hair and carry crunchy old leaves from yard to yard. It’s a great writing day, a great day to get nothing productive done, a great day for contemplation. So, I’ve been contemplating writing and art and what the heck it is, and why the heck we do it. It’s such a peculiar thing to do, to sit alone at your desk all day and make stuff up. I read all the time to try and derive meaning from our day-to-day existence, and I guess that’s the whole point of art, the search for meaning. Of course, many have wrestled with this question of what art is, and I want to share a few of their answers with you: (I love quoting from others, not because I can’t think of my own things to write, but because so many splendid things have been said throughout history, that I feel it’s our job to repeat them and keep them alive.)

Art is the promise the artist makes to the community that they will not commit murder.  ~Louise Bourgeois

Art makes that pleasurable, even beautiful, which in life would be painful to observe. ~Lionel Trilling

Paintings are not done to decorate apartments; they are weapons of war. 
~Pablo Picasso (Of course, some paintings are done to decorate apartments. Think dogs playing cards on black velvet. Think of still lifes. Think of florals and hunt scenes – of which I have many on my own non-violent walls.)

Art is Anything You Can Get Away With. ~Marshall Mcluhan
(This last quote is often attributed to Andy Warhol, but was actually the creation ofMcLuhan.)

So think about the above quotes and stay tuned for my Friday post when I explain exactly why writers should have very little idea what they’re doing when they write.


Today I’ve been distracted by our Keurig machine which keeps secretly calling me to the kitchen to make yet another cup of coffee. I’ve also been reading the book “In the Company of Crows and Ravens,” given to me by my good friend, Steve, since he knows I love corvids and their sneaky intelligence. Also, I have salmon fillets marinating in garlic and Tamari for dinner tonight, and plan to make a chocolate cake to celebrate absolutely nothing. I love windy days.