Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don't Try to Change the World

Someone near and dear to me told me the other day that I, as a writer, won't change the world. "Yeah, and?" I asked. This stumped them. I didn't blame them for the confused look on their face. I still don't. In this society, we're told that to live an important life, to redeem the unique opportunity we're given to love and breathe and toil on this Earth, that we must change it.

I say: who wants to change it?

To me, an artist should reflect the best and worst parts of life, show them unflinchingly like that big old mirror hanging on your granparents' wall. You know the one. It's hanging there in the living room, the one that looks like it's been there a thousand years. That mirror doesn't lie. That mirror has seen babies being brought home from the hospital, it has seen wakes, it's seen a husband telling his wife that he's been cheating on her for years and is leaving. It's seen it all.

Be that mirror.

And in the process of doing this, of reflecting the sweetness and the sadness enwrapped in a single tear or a ten-year-old's birthday party, you should endeavor to bring out a beauty inherent in life that maybe not everyone else sees. Forget about "changing the world." That, my friend, is an impossible goal, sure to make anyone depressed. This world is filled with beauty and tragedy, more than one heart could handle in a hundred lifetimes. They cannot be unwound from each other. So just continue doing what you do.


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