I have an unfortunate, but rather common, confession to make. I have had a rather low opinion of my home town and really nearly the entire area. I tended to look down on it and desperately want to get away as far as possible. In some ways, my opinion has not changed that much since I still want to leave here after an unplanned return, but now it has more to do with familial dynamics than the area itself.
Truth be told, a large part of my concerns about my hometown had to do primarily with my creative aspirations and the supposed limitations and lack of opportunity I saw here. There was really no reason why I believed this things about my home other than youthful ignorance and arrogance. Creativity and art could never flourish or exist in this random “armpit” of an area. Like I said, I was an ignorant youth. Alright, let’s be honest I was a naive, asshole of a kid.
Upon my unexpected return, I assumed the same about my home town. There was no art, no music, no creative outlet; how could there be? I found other outlets like this blog and other writings along with trying my hand at drawing. However, I still felt like there was nothing of note here.
Last Friday, I heard of a local Art Walk in a neighboring town where I happen to work. I am not sure what I was expecting. Honestly, I kind of just wanted something to do one night with a built in excuse for social drinking. I did not expect to find an artistic reservoir. There were several small studios and galleries scattered throughout the downtown area housing local artists and pieces ranging from iron work to ceramics to paintings.
I was thrown back with this discovery and rather giddy as well, though the wine and beer may have helped with that. The pieces I saw were beautiful and moving and I found myself wishing I had far more money than I possess to patronize some of the artists and establishments I was lucky enough to visit.
I am a bit ashamed to admit that I was surprised by the quality and level of skill I witnessed in the art I saw. Again, I can be an asshole at times. But I also found it to be comforting and inspiring that such skilled creativity could find an outlet and audience, even in an area that is not necessarily known for it. I suppose the takeaway lesson should be not to judge a book by its cover, but I think the real lesson here is that creativity can find life anywhere as long as the artist is willing.
Nice towns with diverse people and settings can be inspirational and more comfortable to write, but they are not necessary. These amenities do not make for better writing, painting, sculpting, or art. The only things that matter are the passion, skill, and determination of the artist. Skill can be worked on and improve and passion and determination are up to the artist. Those things can be present anywhere at anytime in any age.
I have to constantly remind myself of this and learn that I can continue regardless of my situation as long as I want to. I hope that one day I will no longer have to remember and just live that wisdom. I do not think I will stay where I am, but I know that even if I do, I will not be held back in my creative desires as long as I am willing.
Thus endeth today’s lesson.