Get Busy Living

I don't have a lot of faith in the human race. I can admit it. We live in a world where a woman can faceplant in a mall fountain while texting and decide that the most reasonable response is to sue. We live in a world where I weekly read articles that someone's child died while they were playing Farmville or checking their Facebook. I'd guess that the only reason we haven't discovered life on other planets yet is that the scientist looking for it was too busy with his level of Angry Birds to notice the spike on the meter he was supposed to be watching. But there's one thing I hold out hope for. One thing that I have to believe is true. It's the idea that each of us has the capacity to create beauty. We can all make something in a way it hasn't been made before. We're all artists.

I don't mean that everyone can paint, or sing, or dance, or draw, or act. I'm not particularly great at any of those, and probably pretty close to awful at a few of them. What I believe is that everyone has the capacity to make art from something they do. Ask a computer programmer about the importance of Bill Gates' BASIC. Consider the impact of the first iPod. Sit on a really comfortable couch, like the one I'm writing this from.

Without artists like us, the world stops. Without art, we have nothing of worth left. I'm not sure if we, as people, are of any worth without art, to be honest. We're certainly not living up to what we're capable of. Art is life, and without it, we're wasting something of ourselves. Something that is simultaneously universal in scope and also deeply personal to each person who discovers it in themselves.

But so many of us let our inner artist die. All it takes is to ignore it. To not cultivate or nurture it. Stagnation is death, as they say. No step in any direction is, in this case, a step in the wrong one.

I spent a lot of years standing still. Well, I guess I was probably sitting. In front of the TV. Claiming I was growing as an artist. That I was learning how to "write better." And yeah, there are things I can learn from studying great movies and TV shows, but if I'm not writing, not putting them into practice, does it really matter what I learned? Art never made isn't art. It's an idea, and one that'll probably be forgotten before long.

If you let me ask something of you, friends, let it be this. Don't waste all the time I did. If you know what you want to do, put down the video games and do it. And do it the best you can. It could be snow shoveling, or taxi driving, or accounting, for all I care. Just do it beautifully.

And that, at the end of the day, is all we can ask of anyone else. Or ourselves, for that matter.