2016 has been a tough year. The last few weeks have been exceptionally rough for me, for my friends, for my colleagues, and for several of the teens I work with. But we’re getting through it.
For me, art helps me through the times when it feels like the world is burning. I listen to music, make music, read good books, and, above all, I write. I write to escape. I write to explore new ideas, to share my thoughts, to discover myself. I write because it feels like I’m doing something positive, even if some days that “something positive” is just getting out of bed instead of giving up. Like Neil Gaiman suggested in his 2012 commencement speech at the University of the Arts, making good art gets artists through the good times and the bad.
These days, my focus is on making good art. I’m in the early stages of writing an #ownvoices book about a Jewish band geek, because the more I see neo-Nazis in positions of power, the more important my Jewish heritage feels to me. I’m writing a marching band story because I’ve always wanted to write one, because marching band was such a big part of my identity in high school and college. I’m writing because I’ve fallen in love with this story, and I’m surrounded by so much hate that doing something I love is a breath of fresh air.
The only downside to this is that working to make good art is taking up my blogging time. If you’re a long-time reader, you’ve probably noticed my posts getting shorter lately. I’ll try to keep blogging weekly, but please bear with me if I disappear for a bit.
And in the meantime, go out there and make good art. The world needs our stories, our paintings, our songs and dances and plays. Whatever your medium, go push the boundaries and make something amazing. Then come back here and share it with me.