“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” — e.e. cummings
Protestors blocking the stairs of the National Board of Health and Welfare in 1979. Image Credit: Courtesy RFSL
The Time Swedes Called in Gay to Work:
“That year, a group of Swedes took advantage of the legal framework that made being gay an illness and called in sick to work, claiming their homosexuality as the reason. One woman, from the southern province of Smålandeven, managed to get Social Security benefits for calling in gay.”
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
— Bronnie Ware, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing”
“This bull is a bull and this horse is a horse…If you give a meaning to certain things in my paintings, it may be very true, but it is not my idea to give this meaning. What ideas and conclusions you have got, I obtained too, but instinctively, unconsciously. I make the painting for the painting. I paint the objects for what they are.” –Pablo Picasso
I know that artists and writers and other creators may not have a deliberate and specific meaning behind everything they make. However, I appreciate that Picasso acknowledges that whatever “ideas and conclusions” and interpretations the viewer or reader or audience comes to are valid. It seems that meaning and motivation is often instinctive and unconscious except in retrospect and after analysis, and that also goes for the creator as well. Context is important and conveys meaning and part of context is the creator. For example, do we realize how our childhood affects our psyche when we are a child? This is why I find analysis and contemplation fulfilling. Discovery of meaning.
Most importantly, however, I feel that every person’s interpretation is valid because the creator lets go of his or her work once it’s finished and at that point, it belongs to the viewer. If it touches him or her emotionally, psychologically, intellectually…who is anyone to say that those emotions, thoughts, ideas are wrong? I feel like in general, it does creators an injustice to assume that their work is flat and thoughtless and emotionless. I feel like everything that comes from a person, comes from somewhere. I believe that, art, in pretty much all its forms, is interactive…but of course, if a person firmly believes that there is no meaning behind a painting or film or book or whatever, then as long as they came to that conclusion by examining and thinking about the work, that all power to that interpretation…but no, anyone else who feels or thinks that that same work means something (to the creator, to them) is not an idiot.