Saturday, February 11, 2023

Because the Human Heart Hasn't Changed


I love this photograph so much I wanted to share it with you for Valentine's Day. I originally found it about thirty years ago in The Sun Magazine.  The message resonates for me. But more than this, I find the laughing couple so very charming. Obviously, the man has just said something funny to the woman. And she's laughing so much much she has to hold on to the stone bench. I think it's a bench, anyway. I love how they're dressed--his vest and tie along with the worker's cap. And I think he's missing some teeth, which pulls at my heart strings. And then, there's her flower patterned dress and those sandals. I love her wrist watch. I love her hands. And I especially love those aged legs. These two friends know about living and working hard and enjoying their lives.

When I first saw this photograph, I was in my thirties and I was teaching creative writing at an arts high school. I showed it to my students and said, look at this and now, write a story about the couple. The stories were beautiful, but what was most enchanting was how my sixteen and seventeen year old students melded their own life experience with the imagined life of the couple to create something new and strange a little miraculous.

This is the power of making art. We begin by writing about another person--real or imagined, but when we put pen to paper, we subconsciously marry that person. By this I mean, we meld our own life experiences and history with this person--or the image of a person we are painting, or the song we are writing about someone we once saw on a park bench and then never again.
By doing this, we walk in the shoes of a stranger. We see the world more clearly. We notice the details. We become more humane, kinder, more forgiving, more compassionate.

Creative friends, your assignment for this week where we celebrate love is to look outside yourself to the unknown and create your own unique valentine from a place of mystery. This will be your gift of love to the world, because truly--the human heart hasn't changed.
And, as always, have fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.