The Beauty WithinTragedy (The intention of your art)

For what seemed like a very long time, there was a growing trend in the art world. Pain. Heartache. Loss. All these emotions, and the events that cause them,were the inspiration for poetry, short stories and novels alike.

We use art to express ourselves, and to heal. But is it healing if you express it without letting it go? Art is life. Life is pain, but life is love as well. Yet time in again, I read the published works of aspiring authors and poets, and what I see is heavy words and heavy hearts. There is beauty in your suffering, but isn't that beauty found in your triumph  rather than the suffering itself? (Though I suppose the entire process of pain, illumination and growth, is stunning.)

No matter who you are, no matter if you live in a mansion, or the doorway to a boarded up building on the side of the street, we all have hardships. It's from these hardships that we learn, and grow. But it seems like people get stuck in the middle of the metamorphosis. They reach the height of their pain, and keep on suffering rather than looking to the glowing sun rising over the crest of the hill. 

So what do we do as artists? We write about this pain while holding it in the deepest parts of our hearts. There it molds and rots until it becomes poison pumping through our bodies. Every time you go back to read those words, you feel that pain all over again because you never let it go. Art should be our shortcut up that hill. Instead we use it to lock out hearts in a dungeon cell without windows or doors. 

Maybe happily ever afters don't last in fairy tales, but they exists. The characters triumph over adversities, and at the moment they thought all was lost, they find that inner strength within to push themselves a little further, and succeed. When the curtain falls, all we see if the bliss they feel at having won. True, if we were to continue following them, we'd see that happily ever after erode into dust. But things have to crumble to make room for a happily ever after even better than the first.

I'm not saying to turn your back to the suffering in the world and create only happy endings and light hearted prose, because pain exists in all of us. I'm only recommending you let it go when you've let it out. Like shedding a dead skin or shrugging a bag of bricks off your back. I want to read about your hardships, and I want to know how you overcame them. Don't stop halfway through the story. 


  1. I'm gonna quote some Little Miss Sunshine here if you don't mind...

    "Marcel Proust ... French writer. Total loser. Never had a real job. Unrequited love affairs. Gay. Spent 20 years writing a book almost no one reads. But he's also probably the greatest writer since Shakespeare. Anyway, he, uh, he gets down to the end of his life, and he looks back and decides that all those years he suffered, those were the best years of his life, 'cause they made him who he was. All those years he was happy? You know, total waste. Didn't learn a thing. So, if you sleep until you're 18-- ah, think of the suffering you're gonna miss. I mean high school? High school-- those are your prime suffering years. You don't get better suffering than that."

    Happy people find sad art depressing. Sad people find it comforting. Sad people find happy art annoying. Happy people find joy in it.

    1. I don't mind at all. That's a fabulous quote. :)

  2. I've thought a lot about how pain influences (my) writing. At times, I try to write from joyful, pleasurable places, for there have been many. But, I think, the pain is a more powerful influence on/for me. I enjoy your posts. you have a way of voicing the "inner voice". Use that power, Melissa Rose!


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