The therapeutic value of art is not disputable in my mind. Even the most fun, light, enjoyable writing allows us to explore the world with new perspectives and is therefore cathartic. We better understand the world through the written word.
But what happens when we share it? Well, if we don't cultivate a strong sense of self, that part may require therapy. I'm not kidding. When we release art into the world, we must be strong. I'm remembering this as I gear up for the release of Resolutions.
We must be willing to speak to an empty room in order to be heard, and what I mean by that is that we must hold space for our art, despite initial success or perceived failure. If we don't think we can do that, it might not yet be ready to share.
This is a concept I've explored and rejected, then explored and accepted. It was not an easy realization, but it is one that I feel I've explored from enough angles to be wholly confident in.
I have read to both packed and empty rooms. In fact, I recently read in my small town in Ohio to a small but attentive audience (that ended up buying copies of After the Gazebo), and at first I was upset that only ten people showed. Then I had a realization.
We so often buy into this narrative that artists don't struggle and don't have to occasionally show up to empty rooms. The fact is quite the opposite. Artists MUST do this in order to prove that they're supposed to be there. There are different and real challenges to showing up to full rooms as well, and if a person can show up to both scenarios with the same self-belief and dedication to her art, she, as Tiffany Haddish would say, ready.
Clarify, create, connect. xo Jen