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For Art's Sake
I have come to think that everyone is an artist. Each of us, all of us, every last one. It’s part of our genetic makes-up, like the capacity for speech or our near-hairlessness.

Or, I suppose I could say there is an artist in all of us. But that sounds as if he or she is some kind of captive. Anyway, there’s an artist in there, and it has a hand in almost everything we do. Making your bed? Doing the dishes? Straightening a picture on the wall? Exchanging pleasantries with your neighbor? It’s there, guiding our efforts.

Also, I see life imitating art all the time. And back again, art imitating life, in an endless loop. One famous example is particularly striking. Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, brought his character’s powers of observation and deduction into two real-life crime stories. Doyle, by applying the skills he had originally imagined for his peerless detective, proved the innocence of two men, actually saving one of them from the gallows. Doyle had no history as a detective until he created the greatest one of all time.

That is more than just life imitating art. It’s an example of the creation affecting and even altering the creator. I am willing to suggest that such an effect is not unusual when it comes to artists (like us) and their works.

In fact, I believe it happens every time we employ our inner artist — no matter what the task. Whether the result is a masterpiece for the whole world to behold or a rack of freshly washed dishes, that creative work is reflected back into us. We made it, but it has the power to change us, too. For good or ill. Every time.

Am I making a point here? I’m not sure. What does it mean that our own creations can turn the tables on us? We might have to dip into quantum physics to find that answer. But it is worth pondering that whatever creative juice we put out into the world, no matter how insignificant, becomes an independent agent of change — including within our own nature.

It might be a thing of beauty — or it might be Frankenstein’s monster. The essence of our artist’s creative process will determine the outcome, for the world and for us. That might be worth remembering the next time we make the bed.
Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz