Every now and then, I read something that reminds me why I write, and why I paint.
The Earth Will Hold You Still
I read this piece in less than ideal conditions. It is about suffering a miscarriage in Mongolia, and I read it while while perched on the brick step next to the pool at my parents; house, where I work because there is wifi. Thunder rumbled in a swirling Joburg sky to the south, and guineafowl screeched and chrrrrred, but for a while I was on the other side of the world, in a hotel room and then a hospital with a doctor with a South African accent.
After I finished reading it, hunched over my phone, peering at words that were just a little too small, I sat still. I felt changed. The yesterday-today-and-tomorrow smelled different.
The writer of this piece is the same age as me, more or less. She moved me. She made me feel. She made me just a little more aware of the scent in the breeze and the cries of the birds, and how wonderful and terrible life is.That is the power of great writing. That is the power of art.
And that is what matters, and why I do what I do, cramming writing and painting into the spaces between PowerPoint and meetings, because those pay and art does not.
Because art can make others feel. Not many things can do that,
A while back I wrote about how PowerPoint trumps art.
Now, I’m not so sure. Because a painting, once created, is whole. It is there. Even if I can’t find a buyer for it, it exists. A strategy written in PowerPoint, on the other hand, is a preamble to something else. It’s an argument for something that might exist – and if it never does, then the document rationalising it has no purpose.
One idea in the real world is worth more than the thousand that never make it out of your head.
I’ve lost count of the number of slides I’ve drafted and crafted over the years, of the ideas I’ve fallen in love with only to watch them evaporate in front of me because there wasn’t budget, or client wasn’t entirely sold, or I didn’t have the resources to implement them. I don’t love every painting I create, and there are some I will never share with you, but my strike rate is better.
I work in a creative industry, but as a strategist I have spent my entire career within the realm of theory. We write the briefs and prepare the graphs, but somebody else takes care of the work. It is difficult to be creative person who never gets to create, not in the proper sense of the word, and that is why I paint.
In the end, I was wrong. Art > PowerPoint.
Va Pensiero, Sul’Alli Dorate