Making Art Relatable

It’s 1am right now.
The entire first week of classes at my college have been cancelled due to weather because my town looks like this right now:

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So, when I could have been doing online homework, reading, writing, or even playing some video games or watching a movie, I was instead watching the entirety of this video: https://youtu.be/gU1sTWIbw_Y.

Some of the people present in this conversation are among my favorite well-known faces. Donald Glover is a great musician as Childish Gambino (in fact, he might be the only rapper I truly enjoy). Lin-Manuel Miranda is a visionary, and beyond Hamilton, his work on Moana also blew us all away. Both Hamilton and Moana were filled songs that so incredibly moved me. I’m not ashamed to admit that I sat in the center of the movie theater and wept like a newborn when Moana and her grandma sang “I Am Moana.”

Watching this video put my mind into a place where I was trying to find out how to make my own work so relatable and accessible. I mostly write about outlandish things, fantasies about magical artifacts and minotaur and ancient wizard wars. With the exception of the We Are Humans Collection, these fantasies are what I’ve written and what I’m continuing to write. Though I’m finding myself pulling back from the keynote high fantasy elements for my next work, I also see myself leaning even more into certain elements of the genre. My current project definitely finds roots in a much more Earthly, natural world than The War for Yokendale, set entirely in a world unknown to its readers. But where does the reader walk that line between relating to the work, the characters, the setting, et cetera and also being allowed to escape their own reality in reading it?

I immediately jumped to The Hobbit, even more so than Lord of the Rings, when I asked myself that question. Bilbo is an Everyman/Everywoman in a way – a person content with his life for the most part, in no hurry to change or evolve. But life, as it does, chooses to change around him anyway. In the book and the movies, he’s portrayed as slightly underwhelming to the untrained eye, only to dazzle us by the story’s end.

Thinking about this way, way too hard – as one does at this time of night – I’ve concluded that life happens to everyone, to all beings. By that I mean that be you human or minotaur, there are feelings, situations, and ideas that everyone will have and/or understand simply because they’re living, breathing creatures. The best art, the truest art, comes from a place of knowing and of tapping into life in such a way that one can extract a drop of its essence and plunge it into her or his work.

Art has become life, and life has become art. They’ve both graduated from imitation to the essence of our modern culture.

Food for thought… Anyway, announcements coming soon, so keep an eye on the website and my Facebook page. Have a great weekend, and I’ll chat with you next week!

Bonus: here’s my dog realizing he’s made a mistake…

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