Art is the vehicle by which a person’s sensibilities are engaged, but not all art can be termed “beautiful.” As the saying goes, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Some pieces of art are troubling and disturbing. Even so, good art makes a person stop and think.
What does this have to do with writing? First and foremost, a writer is an observer, taking in colors, shapes, designs, and details of behavior and speech. Recently I did a review for an author friend, MLRigdon, and was taken with how precisely she detailed nuances of character and action even though her story was set in another century. Her characters reacted basically as people would today. Maybe the human psyche hasn’t changed all that much.
In spite of an exquisitely mounted exhibition of paintings, a serendipitous bit of luck, a fine piece of music, a memorable performance, an unusual story, an eloquent speech, an excellent meal, or the simple awareness of how precious life which overwhelms a person’s sense of admiration, twenty-four hours a day, we are bombarded by news of coarse behavior and unspeakable tragedies. Not everything should be aired, expressed, or exposed. My mother called it “good manners.” In light of the sameness of human nature throughout time, it seems appropriate that we try to make a concerted effort to be civil and to rise to a higher level of discourse and behavior.
The English poet John Keats said that truth and beauty are all we need to know. I think we also must appreciate art and civilized behavior. And, given that this is December, is there anything more beautiful than the simplicity of Christmas when lights, artistry, pageantry, and traditions glow throughout the season? These decorations and rituals testify to a concept of civility and peace.
Whether it is an art exhibit, a well written story, or a meal shared that triggers your sense of what is magical and true, I hope this holiday season-- for all people, races, and creeds --will extend into the next year, bringing reconciliation, civility, and peace. Allow me to share Corinthians 16:13. Be alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. For beauty and art’s sake, find a bough and hang a ribbon on it! Hot cider also would be nice.