My father recently came to Lowell for dinner. After dinner, we sat in the small room off of my kitchen. We spoke of many things as the light grew dim. Of the great scientists of history, children’s stories, music teachers from my past, and poetry.
Mostly, we spoke of art.
“There must be a reason that some stories and fables have lasted so long,” my dad mused. He reflected on an article he had read when I was a child about children and literature. If a child is requesting a book over and over again, there is a reason. There is something that resonates with them. He told me that he must have read some of my favorite books hundreds of times.
From children’s literature, we moved on to poetry.
“A really great poem ends with a line that truly moves you,” my dad told me. “When you finish reading that poem, you think, something deeply meaningful was just communicated in that piece of writing.”
For me, the chorus of a song is meant to do this, to capture something that is a universal part of the fundamental, primal, human experience. Something that every person can relate to, no matter what color they are, what culture they are from, what language they speak.
I think of art an as a universal language with words that have no definitions. The beauty of art is that it is a universal language whose words do not/need not have one, definitive meaning. It is not like the English language, where each word has a specific meaning depending on the context and placement within a phrase.
With a painting or a song, the artist has creative liberty to express some element of themselves captured in a moment in time. Each individual who witnesses the finished piece is also given a freedom, the freedom to interpret in their own way, through their own, individual lens. What resonates with one person in one way may be unique to that person.
In my view, this is magic.
This is what gets me out of the bed in the morning, what keeps me going throughout the day, and what I think about as I lie in bed at night.
This is a language I can understand.
This is art.