‘Meaning’ can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to art. Whether it’s painting, film making, poetry or chaining yourself naked to the London Eye to express how ‘we should be emotionally naked if we want to grow’, meaning gives work purpose and drive. There is a belief that a piece of art can alter perceptions and influence behaviour, eradicate hate and replace it with love.
The trouble is that 23 years after the film Philadelphia, we still have Westboro Baptist Church. To Kill a Mockingbird was released in 1960, yet every month another #BlackLivesMatter story hits the press. We want to believe in change yet we’re slow to embrace it. So why create? Why create with the knowledge that it won’t fix the world? Why pour your heart into projects with the knowledge that next year the world may be just as cold?
Create because whilst the world may not get warmer, you can. Create because, whilst progress is slow, it’s worth it. Create to escape, create to shine a light. Whatever your reason, if you feel like you have something to say, don’t be afraid to share it. Creating isn’t about fixing everything. It’s about fixing something, even if that something is yourself. That’s why I write. Through writing, I understand myself. Through writing, I get to see the world as an observer as opposed to a participant. I write because to me it is important. Sometimes my writing has meaning but more often than not, it doesn’t. Stories of scuba diving wasps flicker onto the page then fly into the bin. The end product is merely a bonus because the process has meaning. Create because it is necessary.
We have a world that is increasingly cynical but it also holds countless opportunities. If you want to create film then you have all the equipment you need within your pocket. Grab some friends, write something deep or silly and go out and film it. It might be good, it might be bad but ultimately no lessons are learnt through silence.
Create your work, not anybody else’s. Neil Gaiman (writer of Sandman and Coraline) said in his 2012 commencement speech:
“I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. And if I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.”
Choose projects because they interest you and you will never tire. Choose projects that inspire you and you will feel your creativity enveloping you. Choose projects because they grab something within you and you will find your meaning within them.
I write because when I’m bleeding words I feel alive. Whatever that means to you grab it and, for goodness sakes, create!
E.M. Wragg hails from Essex, England. You can usually find him waxing poetic on the streets of London or at home watching movies with his dog. He’s currently in the midst of drawing 1000 stick figures for his next creative project.
Have a look at Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech below! It is wise, wise, wise!