We make art, I believe, partly because our lives are ungraspable, uncarryable, impossible to navigate without it. Even our joys are vanishing things, subject to transience. How, then, could there be any beauty without some awareness of loss, of suffering? The surprising thing is that the opposite is also true, that suffering leads us to beauty the way thirst leads us to water.
In the midst of suffering, we almost have no choice. We have to feel and acknowledge it. It demands response. Art offers a way not only to face grief, face pain, but also to soften grief’s and pain’s faces, which turn back toward us, listening in turn, when we speak to them in the language of story and music and image.
Art isn’t a superficial addition to our lives; it’s as necessary as oxygen. Amid the cliffs and abysses every life brings, art allows us to find a way to agree to suffering, to include it and not be broken, to say yes to what actually is, and then to say something further, something that changes and opens the heart, the ears, the eyes, the mind.