Dec 21, 2007

A World Without Art.

I have spent the last two and a half years stuck in the timesuck that is law school, and while I see the tunnel's end, it isn't really lit up yet. I'm thankful to be back in school, but a quick accounting of what I've lost along the way makes it a less than fully rosy picture.

But what affects me more, and in a far deeper way, is how I have lost my connection to the arts. This has happened over a longer period time, maybe about 4-5 years, spanning from the dog days of the last full-time gig that I held down. In my first life after school, I spent a lot of time checking out performances, readings, and even some visual stuff. It's easy to overlook things in NY, even though it's all over the place, but I was fortunate enough to be in a setting where I had access and I was around artists.

Cut to more social service and policy work, and I didn't have as much exposure, but still took advantage when I could. There's something rejuvenating and pure about art, and engaging with people who want to talk about the (per)mutations of human experience, thought, culture, and political galaxies that intertwine with good work. To feel inspired, to feel challenged, to experience something that is, in most cases, ephemeral... momentary... unique in that moment. That's probably why I love performance. Though live music can fill that gap, but it's still a different experience than other performance, especially good theater and performance art.

I've dug deep into music as a refuge, but it is not a satisfactory replacement, no matter how much I love it. At least not recorded music. I've not been able to read much fiction for a long time, and I still feel that reading is too isolating - it doesn't feel like I'm experiencing something with people the same you feel with performance. The journey is generally inward, and I don't feel satiated or inspired by inwardness.

So I feel empty, in some critical, crucial way. There is a vibrant, creative, urgent world right outside of my viewpoint, and I have not dipped into it for any sustained time in years. And honestly, lawyers, law students, policy wonks - they are too literal, too limited, too linear. Their language is tightly wound around single meanings and objectives - their time too guarded by objectives (worthwhile or otherwise). Spontaneity is a "waste of time" rather than a tapping of the real lifestream that is meant to replenish our weariness with passion for the struggles and stories that make liberation more than just an academic exercise.

No press release nor policy brief ever moved me. No legal argument ever fundamentally changed my view of the world and my place in it. No conversation with a lawyer has ever really kept me guessing about which turn or angle it will take next, careening from random association to crystal clarity and connecting dots I didn't even know existed. I don't begrudge any lawyers this, because it's not their role, but I miss what I have lost.


Anonymous said...

I have been feeling some of that same emptiness.... resolved in 2008 to bring back some creativity into my life.

Rage said...

Here's to that. Good to see you on here. I'm hoping to write a lot more. Would love to hear what you're listening to. :)