Right now I’m reading a book called Tom Waits on Tom Waits, Interviews and Encounters. Sheer brilliance! Much like his music, his interviews allow readers to immerse themselves into his world… And what a world it is! Tom Waits seems to inhabit his own reality: a gritty, raw, dark, but warm place simultaneously existing today and some time in the 1940’s. As I swim through these articles of him with his anecdotes, witty one-liners and his ruggedly captivating persona as described by his many interviewers, I find myself walking differently, noticing details and places I haven’t noticed before… Oddly enough, I find myself connecting to myself more–a truer, more honest part of myself.
Great art and true artists have the capacity to inspire us to experience the world in a new way. Certain artists actually motivate me to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life, reminding me through their work that I can choose to live each day in a way that counts; that every moment is an opportunity to be singularly, fabulously myself. For that reason alone, art is a driving force in my world.
I heard a story that during the Second World War, Winston Churchill’s finance minister said Britain should cut arts funding to support the war effort. According to rumor, Churchill’s response was this: “Then what are we fighting for?”
Indeed. Our birthright and a basic need for all of us is creativity. The world we live in these days does not encourage this. Instead it often feels as if the powers that be try to make us all fit into the same neat box, labeled “Consumer.” It requires daily bravery to live our lives in a creative and individual way. I thank the universe for people like Tom Waits, who show the rest of us that there are many different paths to choose from. Out of 7 billion paths, (hopefully) we choose the one meant for us.