In the light

Entitled La Notte, this is a photograph depicting a one-quarter life-size bronze sculpture of a sitting female figure, created by sculptor Blake Ward

“The compensation of growing old [is] that the passions remain as strong as ever, but one has gained — at last! — the power which adds the supreme flavour to existence, — the power of taking hold of experience, of turning it around, slowly, in the light.” [1]

These words from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway offer an insight into the deepest abyss of inspiration that propels us, changing our vantage point from the pain of the “sudden shock” of the “unexpected blow”.

This was her truth.

“I go on to suppose that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer.” [2]

As with many sensitive types, writers and artists, the pain caused by such blows can be appeased through expression and through telling a story.

That is what artists do, after all.

If it was merely an exercise in technique we wouldn’t be able to engage with anybody.

It would be mindless and meaningless.

Truth is after all, beauty, and in telling the story we make it whole.

Emotional intelligence and empathy are driving forces in our lives.

It isn’t about success or power.

Becoming is about relationships.

In his bereavement letter to Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, Einstein expresses an understanding of humanity that goes beyond the blows:

“Mozart remains as beautiful and tender as he always was and always will be. There is, after all, something eternal that lies beyond the hand of fate and of all human delusions. And such eternals lie closer to an older person than to a younger one oscillating between fear and hope. For us, there remains the privilege of experiencing beauty and truth in their purest forms.” [3]

That wisdom; that bringing together of sorrow; of grief and empathy leads to a landscape within which our lives as artists can evolve, grow and flourish.

Nothing can hurt us anymore.

By Boky Hackel and Blake Ward

  2. Ibid