The Magic of Visual Arts

ImageI’m a writer.  I analyze like a writer.  I engage emotionally like a writer.  I get a rush from trying to convert feelings into words.  I’m not an artist or a photographer.  Yet somehow, pictures do something to me.  I may casually walk in my door after finishing a trivial task, open my laptop, and there it is: an emotionally charged depiction of someone or something.  For a second I stop breathing and I travel into that picture.  I vicariously feel the experience that the subject is feeling and I then am able to imagine where these feelings may have been derived.  It’s a miracle, I think, what the mind is capable of.

The emotional part of being human is certainly a complicated dynamic.  Carrying around the baggage of past emotional engagements, then making subconscious associations to current events, complicates decision-making to a level of oftentimes impossibility.  I try to imagine what a person’s life would be like without emotion.  Maybe it’s equivalent to a lobotomy, which would explain the reason why they have become effectively taboo in the medical community, if not illegal (I think it’s still legal).  I think, wow, it would be so easy to make sense out of things without feelings getting in the way.  But I also wonder: what would life really be like without the emotional part of living?

Most things in life have it’s pros and cons, hence the saying “you can’t live with it, you can’t live without it” and I think the emotional aspect of living certainly falls in that category.   When I peer at a picture, I associate the imagined experience with mine, which in turn inspires me to write about my own experiences associated with that feeling.  It’s almost as if I am a glass of water with bits of delicious memories in the bottom of it.  A picture is a glass stirrer that the artist puts in my glass.  As I process the picture, that glass stirrer swirls around and around, churning up the bits of memory that sit at the bottom.  When all is said and done, I, the glass of water, have been reminded of a few of the resonating events in my life.  Without those bits, I would simply be a glass of water.

In the end, if I could choose my life as simplified and unemotional, or complicated and emotional as it is now, I confess, I would take the plunge and happily accept the latter.

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