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Archive for January 24th, 2023

Frida Kahlo - what-the-water-gave-me 1938

Frida Kahlo- What the Water Gave Me, 1938




Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.

–Graham Greene, Ways of Escape, 1980



The creative urge is a survival skill.

Graham Greene knew it.

Probably my only quibble with his words is that they are so specific, citing only writing, composing and painting. The creative urge extends well beyond those fields.

I have had so many people tell me at openings or gallery talks that they are not creative. I always try to ask what they do then try to get them to see the everyday creativity that is often overlooked and underpraised.

Surviving life requires the creative urge.

Virginia Woolf knew it.

When Woolf walked into the River Ouse with her coat pockets filled with stones to end her life in 1941, she felt that she could no longer create. The mental illness that had plagued her life made it impossible for her to concentrate, to read and to write. She had lost her means to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear that, as Greene pointed out, is inherent in the human situation.

I don’t mention Woolf’s death meaning to be a downer this morning. It’s actually an intro to the song below, What the Water GaveĀ Me, fromĀ Florence and the Machine. She took the title of the song from the Frida Kahlo painting of that name shown at the top, painted in 1938. The painting, which Kahlo described as being biographical, was on the cover of a book about symbols that was near at hand when Florence was writing the song. She was also writing about the watery demise of Woolf.

I guess the point here is to hope that you recognize the inherent creativity it took to get you to this point in your life. I know from firsthand experience that life can be a hard road and it takes more than a little creativity to endure the rough parts. You might not write or compose or paint but if you’re reading this, I bet you have much more creative power than you know.

I hope you can see and appreciate that.

Okay. I have work to do– my own form of therapy. Here’s the song.



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