Monday, August 16, 2010

Art Therapy

There are very few things that can't be helped by being creative.  Art definitely soothes the savage beast.  I saw the famous video of the troubled elephant relaxing through art therapy, watched college classmates' scowls smooth out as they sketched during life drawing.  I taught art classes at an abused children's home and witnessed how scratching charcoal against newsprint could lance a wound few psychiatrists could touch.

People strive to get disposable income so they can collect art.  That's a common thing.  Even the cold and calculating find something important about great art, even if it's a only a reptilian desire for a good investment.  Even the poorest of humanity likes to adorn their walls with something creative and meaningful, woven together with ingenuity and artistic creativity.  Art touches the heart of the whole world.

Many of my friends ponder my own existence.  Out of generations, I am one of only a handful of people in my family who never turned to drugs, alcohol or sex during my youth.  We have a genetic propensity for addiction and we oblige it, year after year, generation after generation.  Why, then, did I never have a desire for it?  Why didn't I turn to the obvious to alleviate any of the pain I was going through?  One of my best friends made a suggestion as to the cause, something I'd never thought of.  Art.  I was constantly creating, even as a small child.  I took crayons and carved faces on them with a pin when I was in second grade.  I wrote stories and illustrated them, acted out haunted house scenarios with my friend Carol and drew all the time.  When things were really bad, which was often, I drew monsters with gaping mouths and lashing tails.  When things were sad, I drew beautiful fairies and angels and Greek gods, all smiling and mysterious and always loving.  When things were unbearable, I drew super heroes and super villains with equal relish, making sure they kicked the shit out of each other for at least five pages.  I got my angst out as much as I could.  I lanced the rancid boil that was my existence and I did it by sketching on a pad of paper.  That was my secret weapon.  Secret even to myself.  I liked to draw.  That's all I knew.  I felt better when I did it but I never paid much attention to the philosophy of it. 

So there's another weapon in the arsenal of soul preservation and temper dampening.  Create something. Buy some clay, a pack of copy paper and some pens and just let your hands go nuts.  Draw a picture, squish out a clay sculpture, paint a masterpiece, write a song.  Hands and minds love to run loose, like hyper puppies after a bath, and who knows what they'll come up with together.  They're magical creatures and they come alive when asked to do something so wondrous.  Through them, we become wondrous too.


  1. Excellent blog Rebecca! So very true that your multi-faceted, articulate talent was your outlet and addiction. Which i have have heard of before but i always thought that the art and drugs/alcohol addiction went hand in hand. Thats why there so many musicians with substance abuse problems. It's almost like the high enhances their talent. I also had an ex-boyfriend who was very intelligent but could only write a paper for school if he smoked marijuana. So it's very interesting that you never went that route in life. Let's all be very thankful that you didnt. Keep doing what you do best and thats intriguing the world with your wonderful talents! <3 Dawn B.<3

  2. What a sunshine creature you are, Dawn. I'm so happy I know you. I also know a lot of artists who insist they can't create without getting high. That's a common denial and excuse just to get high. I saw an interview with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and he said they used the same excuse and it destroyed the band for twenty years and almost killed them all. I had a stoner friend once make me promise that I would never do drugs. "You're so goddamn freaky now, Beck, if you did drugs, your head would probably just fucking explode." Truth hurts! But I see all these beloved people who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and I think, "There but for the grace of God go I." How the hell was I so lucky? Thanks for liking the blog and I know I can always count on you to call for help whenever anything happens! (Like me passing out on Mother's Day!) You're a sweetie.

  3. What's up Rebecca/kindred spirit... AND YOU KNOW THIS MAN sorry it took so long to sign up... couldnt agree more with the above passage. As you know that's why music is so theraputic to me because often its my outlet to express whatever i might be going through at that particular time. So for me whether its writing a song or even listening to a song that relates to the problem at hand helps in ways i cant even describe. Your an amazing gift of talent and such a creative soul.. now that i followed i will be looking forward to reading everyday keep up the great work

  4. Hey, Mike, you should listen to Neil Young's "Damage Done." That masterpiece says it all. And you are a kindred spirit. How cool that I've actually met one. That's really rare and I'm very grateful. Keep creating and let the world know how incredible your gifts are.