Is it stupid to make art when the world is going to sh*t?
Linda Caroll

A popular saying: Earth, without “art” is “Eh.” There are those who would attempt to classify, categorize, label and decide to be the “arbiters of taste” w/r/t art. But I believe art comes in many forms, and can be healing, transformative, and unifying.

We would have no “heart” as human beings, without art — not to mention the word itself. Which brings me to The Word. Your words, Linda — today, especially — my words, they reach out, they connect. Words and reading other’s words create empathy and compassion, understanding and love.

Since 9/11, our efforts to quell the violence and dissonance in the music of the world’s symphony have fallen shudderingly flat. (Yes, I know that’s not a real adverb. But when a note is flat, I shudder.) You also know the saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting different results. This is aptly applied to the “war on terror.”

I wrote a poem, and it cast a certain person in a rather harsh light within the lines. Someone commented — two people, actually, and they did not comment WITH a little green heart. Uh oh. One comment was one word and made no sense. The other comment? A Poem. At first, I was troubled. Angry. Clearly there is a right and wrong side here, and *I* was on the “right side.” Then, I read the poem again. And again. And again. He was trying to tell me something. So was the other man, who’d written the single word that upon reading the poem in the comment, made sense. Over and over I read his words.

I finally saw, through his art, his HEART. That there is no black and white. I responded to his poem in kind, with a poem, and I told him “I think I hear you.”

After that — he gave me that green heart; so did the other man who commented. They both started following me. The green heart itself didn’t matter — it was a symbol: “Yes, you heard me. Thank you for listening.”

He led with art and a plea for compassion. I could have responded in a myriad of ways. I chose art, and what always comes with art: love, empathy and unification, connection. I felt, as my hand reached across land, river, mountain, oceans, cultures, and time — I felt his hand, reaching back, reaching out to clasp mine.

Art has the power to heal. It creates compassion and understanding. After the exchange, I changed my poem. Rather than casting the individual in that harsh, “black” light, he suddenly was in the gray area in which we all stand. No, there was no excuse for his bad actions — but it is not a simple case of “good” v. “the evil-doer.”

It was beautiful.

Why won’t anyone see? Because they choose to look through lenses that blind. Art is the lens through which All are gripped by the wonder, the variables, the variety, as well as the commonalities of the human condition. If we focused on how we are the same rather than how we are different — what a world this would be. What a world it could be.

Art. I believe with all of my heart, it is, and will be, the only thing that saves us, finally, and after all.