Kurt Vonnegut: Practice any art… to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow

Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals [sic]. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

– Kurt Vonnegut

Life – the Universe, Existence – is inherently creative. It has formed itself into matter, molecules, solar systems, living planets, us, everything we know. It’s still forming itself into always new things.

It’s how life gets to know itself. It expresses, explores, and experiences itself in always new ways.

We are made out of creativity. So why not consciously explore it?

When I was passionate about art in my teens and early twenties, it was for that reason. I loved exploring what would come out. I got to know myself in new ways.

This is not only about what we think of as art. It’s all of life. Learning, experiencing, having a conversation, making a meal, dealing with a conflict, gardening, going for a walk, playing with a dog…

Whatever we do is life expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways through and as us.

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