A Creative Life...

"Turn away from half measures and be resolute in living, wholly, fully ,beautifully..." 

"Become who you are!"

Words of a man, inspired by a woman. The man was Nietzsche. The woman was Lou von Salomé.

If you don’t know this Russian born essayist, psychoanalyst and ‘intellectual conquistador’ – she is also known as the muse to Nietzsche & Freud, as well as the true love of Rainer Maria Rilke. 

Over 20 years ago, I stumbled across her existence not in any history or feminist theory classes, but in an old used bookstore in Ohio. Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas Salomé: the Correspondence. I'd never heard of her until I began reading these letters... The compelling language and ideas shared triggered something in me and I sought out more of her writing... 

... I chose a creative life over a creative career...

This one sentence, reframed my understanding of the arts and humanities - of my own work as a theatre artist and teacher.

I remember a few years back when the wave of cuts to the arts swept through schools & universities, the NEA and community arts programs across the country… loss of space, time, funding. STEM degrees took the focus of state dollars & job development… 

And just today, I read that the NEA and NEH are under threat once again... not just losing funding but being dismantled altogether.... Paltry amounts to be salvaged, yet the first place legislators and administrations often look to cut is the arts. Why? Is it so unclear the value of arts to a culture? Apparently.

Rather than get angry, I'm choosing to get curious. Perhaps this is an opportunity to do something in a new way. 

The old arguments for the arts aren’t working for the world we live in today – one that whirrs and beeps, runs and functions at a pace like never before. And yet… I’d suggest that it’s the best time ever to talk about how the arts & humanities enrich science & mathematics. How communication, collaboration, empathy, and ethical development require skills that are only taught in these arenas.

There's no wonder in the surge of creativity workshops and books and wellness centers popping up around the country... it's an attempt to balance something that is seriously out of whack. Finding places to breathe together, to play, to explore, to express and to discover are really important right now. Not just for children, but also adults. But what I hear from folks all the time is that there isn't enough time or energy or money to go see theatre or museums or opera or dance... much less take the time to write or paint or take a class. Unless you make a living at it, it seems anything involving the arts & humanities are seen as hobbies... It's easy to see how there isn't time, energy or money for a regular commitment to engage in artistic communities, locally & regionally. 

However... what if we look at this as an opportunity for a new way to partner the arts with every day living: reducing stress, encouraging wellness, offering new values for us to embrace as a culture and redefining how we think of creativity…

Continually in motion… 

Fia