What is Your Art?
A funny thing happened while I was writing latest book (link here). It happened toward the end of the process, when my editor began pushing me to go deeper, to write more complete and personal portraits of my experiences. It forced me to look further within, and the further I went, the more layered and poignant my writing became.
The more complete the picture, the more readers would feel, I realized. Through this process I began to grasp that the ability to transform emotions into words is my gift. As I continued to reflect, I made a greater discovery. That at its essence, ART is the transformation of emotions into shareable forms. While I do it with words, others do it with paint, photos, or food and drink. A great dish is not necessarily the one that uses the best technique; it is often the one that the chef created from a strong emotional memory, such as something his grandmother used to cook for family dinner or a specific taste experienced during a special trip. For example a lobster roll in Montauk washed down with an iced cold pilsner while the sun shines and a late summer wind blows off the ocean, a moment in time, a feeling.
The artist’s journey—or the human experience, some might say—involves attaining a greater understanding of your emotions and refining your expression of those emotions in whatever form you choose.
We gain a deeper understanding.
And on it goes.
Through this process, we get closer to figuring out what we feel and do our best to share an honest reflection of those emotions.
Up until a few months ago, I wasn’t conscious of this process. I created, in many different forms, but without understanding what I needed to do to harness my creativity in a more impactful manner. I now know that the closer I come to living and expressing the most honest reflection of my emotional life, the greater my art will become. It is empowering to know, exhilarating to do, and chilling to experience. But without question, the only path to a great art is the transformation of our emotional existence—the agony of struggle, the texture of our everyday existence, the thrill of watching our child laugh—into sharable forms.
Your singular life experience—what you feel—when transformed through focus and effort, enables your singular creative output. This is your art. This is where your greatest work and most fulfilling life exist. Everything you want lies on the other side of your fear of going there, of doing the work and taking the required risk to live your best life.