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The Worth Of Art

in Writing

Starry Night - The Worth of Art

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left inside on that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

    “Vincent”
    — Don McLean

Start: What is art worth?

I think like any question, it depends on who you ask, and, of course, on the context of it.

I never really asked that question for myself as a kid, or as a teen, or even into my adult years until very recently, because, outwardly, I took its worth for granted.

And unconsciously, I took its worthlessness for granted.

Unrevered Magic

I started writing stories in my middle school years (when I run across just about anything I wrote back then, it’s a reaction somewhere between wincing and a rolling of the eyes). I recall the moment, while I was in eighth grade, sitting at the kitchen table plotting up what looked like would be a novel-length story, and that was it: I knew that this is what I wanted to do.

I reached a point in high school where I would sit at the kitchen table and would write, longhand, stories pouring out of me, page after page. In my short college experience, I became an English Major, and studied American Literature.

For some reason — be it the guidance of some inner compass or a sense of Baby Boomer entitlement, or both — it never occurred to me that the universe didn’t delight in what I was doing and wouldn’t go out of its way to help me realize my dream. The act of creating was so magical — and still is — that I couldn’t see that it wasn’t revered by everyone, and everything.

Well, it wasn’t, and it’s not.

The unstated message I got from my father during my college years (and internalized without realizing it) was that creativity was worthless unless money could be made from it.

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A Bus Experiment

in Writing

Sanctuary, Sort Of

    Sometimes our personal sanctuary can be found in the last place we’d expect.

Start: It had been a while since I’d ridden a city bus.

Seven weeks ago in my work life I contemplated using public transit for my daily commute. There’s a bunch or reasons, but really what it came down to was figuring out if the Clark County transit system is a viable option at all.

I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not the coolest place in the world. We actually get snow once in a blue moon, but it’s almost as rare as an honest politician. We’ve entered the serious heat of summer now (we hit about 112 degrees F. in June when I embraced this idea) and the real question was if I could tolerate the heat that must be endured in walking the couple of blocks to the relevant bus stop.

My wife thought I was an idiot for doing this: “But we’re in the middle of a heat wave!” I can’t say I blame her for feeling protective, but this is summer in Las Vegas — and exactly when, here, is it not a heat wave?

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