Lessons From a Literary Icon

Those of us who engage in creative activities know first hand the power of making art. We create and share our work full of joy, inspiration, and narrative. The amazing thing about art is that even if you’re not trying to get your work in a museum or gallery, the experience alone is healing. Creating in any way, shape, or form releases chemicals in the brain that are better than any drug one can take. The question is how to spread that message.

When you have someone like Tolstoy on your side, spreading the message is much easier. Tolstoy, best known for his books, War and Peace, and Anna Karenina, spoke eloquently about art (not the written word specifically) when he said, “Art is a human activity, consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings, and also experience them.” (from John Butman’s book Breaking Out: How to Build Influence in a World of Competing Ideas)

The line about others being infected by the feelings and experience is palpable. We, as artists, disseminate thought provoking questions. Our healing journeys are on display every time we create. Our creative energies serve as role models and goal models. We bring to life feelings and experiences, and that’s contagious.

Ask an artist why they create and they’ll tell you, “I have to”. I did a piece years ago titled, “All I need is the Air that I Breathe”. I was clear when making the piece that it was about the one thing in all our lives we need to continue. For artists, that one thing is creativity. We all have that one thing that keeps us motivated, engaged, and inspired to live another day with meaning.

What is it you want to share with the world? How will your creative endeavors spread a message, a question, or an experience? These are the healing moments we get to experience every time a piece of work is created, no matter the medium!

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