Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Art and Angst

The concept that, without angst, there is no art has always bothered me. At various point in my life (when I was less mature and far more belligerent), it even made me angry. To say that joy, happiness, and general good moods have never led to beautiful music, sculptures, paintings, or literature is simply untrue.

But now that I'm older, I can definitely appreciate art as an OUTLET for angst. The more I look at writers, actors, and musicians admired by the masses, the more I seem to see various forms of clinical depression, anxiety, and various other soul-crushing mental/emotional conditions. For those who survive without professional assistance (doctors of some sort), their art MUST be a fantastic outlet, and a way to manage what they're going through. And for those who have found the help they need to move forward each day (which takes a LOT of strength and should be applauded!), many of them have created amazingly fantastic works of art DESPITE the fact that they want nothing more than to collapse into a broken pile of human existence.

In my own life, I've never faced the need for professional help. In many ways, when I feel angsty, depressed, angry, and broken, I retreat into my writing. I write the pain into the characters, the story, the world. It's not necessarily the best writing I've created, but it has forced me to face the problems in a way I otherwise would not have. And, often enough, it's given me an escape from many of the problems I've needed to avoid until there's enough distance to face them and work them out without making poor decisions.

Question: what is your relationship with angst? Is it something for whiney teenagers who are pissed off that mommy cut up the credit cards? Or is it a genuine, soul-crushing reality to every moment of every day? Maybe somewhere in between?

Whatever it is in your life, don't let it control or ruin your art. But if you can, take it and use it as the inspiration for an amazing story, a hope-filled painting of what the other side will look like, or a song that makes the listener cry.

Giles has been in a great mood lately, but there is still angst in there. Somewhere. And it's helping to inspire some new ideas.

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