Sometimes, when you look at the news, or just contemplate the state of world affairs–wars, pollution, economic stagnation, murder, suicide bombings . . . It’s easy to think there just isn’t any hope for us all It’s easy to get angry, but don’t forget: the world has always been full of terrible stuff. And, for those of us who survive it, it’s fodder for our art.
As a memoir ghostwriter, I help people come to terms with their world by writing about it. But you can, of course, also come to terms with it through song, visual art, fiction, or any other art form. Self expression is a human need and reading or looking at other peoples’ self expression is a great source of pleasure, even if (or especially if) they are expressing anger or sadness. I have ghostwritten memoirs, fictional stories, and even scientific books, but for all these clients, the book was an expression of a heartfelt need to come to terms with the world, and, in a way, control one little corner of it.
In the quote on this page, Tom Waits really nails it. We all want to world to be a better place, but while you’re trying to better your corner of it, why not also work to better the “quality of your suffering?” Put your feelings out there. Write your book. Make your art. Let all of life’s evils result in something good: your ultimate blues song. Your ultimate insightful memoir. Your Great American Novel.
I haven’t done research on this, but I think it’d be a worthwhile endeavor: I’ll bet the amount of great art goes up along with the world’s level of conflict. The worse life is, the better music gets. The more conflicted people feel, the more depth to their writing. I know people whose souls have been saved by music and books, people who couldn’t cry about a trauma until a piece of art brought it out of them. Without that blues song or that deeply felt novel, at least one person would have remained stuck in an emotional quagmire forever. That’s why art matters. It’s surgery for the soul. Takes out the cancer. Writers are important in times like these, so don’t let world events stop your work. Let them push you forward. Write your books, your poems your songs. Save souls. Do it today.