Sometimes the non-creative types have difficulty understanding why we do what we do. They call creative endeavors "that little hobby of yours" or scoff at what may seem like useless daydreaming or consider writing not a meaningful endeavor but "that thing you do in your spare time."
The thing is, I don't consider this is my "spare time." This is real time. Writing doesn't feel like a choice, the way it leaks and pours and spills out.
Sometimes people wonder why we write, paint, photograph, sing when we could be using that energy for making more money or doing a better job keeping up with laundry or being more "productive." They wonder why we fling off our blouses when the sun kisses the back of our necks, why we have this overwhelming urge to slip around nude amongst the ferns and branches. Why we pull over on the side of the highway to write down that thought bubble that nearly caused an aneurysm while rushing to work on the Interstate.
I spotted an answer for those people today, one that stopped me in my tracks because it's true, so true. True for me, but even more so for people who truly are limited in their ability to be expressive due to their repressive and sometimes dangerous cultural surroundings. Those are the truly brave and I am in awe of them.
“I did art because I didn’t want to die."
--Egyptian-born artist Ghada Amer
I saw this quote in an article about a documentary, "Our City Dreams, a lyrical documentary about the intersection of location and imagination."
If anyone asks, or scoffs or laughs or questions it, I now know what to say, if I need to say anything at all, about why I just dropped everything to sketch a bird that landed on my feeder or why I'm out in the woods recording the sound of ice falling from branches or why I use my precious "spare time" to transcribe imagination onto the page.
"Because I want to live."