Blessed are the Meek

artist paint-2985569_640 courtesy of pixabayCompared to other types of people, I guess you could consider artists to be meek, in many cases. Of course, there are artists from all walks of life – some are serial killers, too – but for the most part, I think it’s fair to say that creative people tend to be gentle.

Of course, people who are gentle – and different – are easy targets for bullies. So, writers, painters, dancers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians – anyone who is creative – are often ostracized and ridiculed because they’re special or have a passion. I won’t go into the list of insults I’ve been called, but I will mention that we’ve probably been referred to as “emos” (overly sensitive, emotional, and full of angst – per Dictionary.com) at least once in our lifetime, or told that the arts are not necessary and sometimes, even useless.

So I find it incredibly curious that during this very difficult time – with coronavirus, and murder hornets, and civil unrest – that us “emos” are the ones holding it together. We’re the ones trying to keep our fellow humans entertained. We’re the ones offering encouragement and pep talks. We’re the ones who, in many cases, have been offering up our art for free to try to help those who are having a hard time coping with the stresses of daily life.

According to an article on WEForum.org, “Artists are finding creative ways to keep people connected during a pandemic that keeps us apart.”

And that’s absolutely true.

Musicians, both famous and unknown, are offering live concerts for free from their living rooms on social media. Authors are making their books free so people have something to read while shut in. Dancers are filming their home performances and posting them for people to enjoy. Many artists have written and performed music parody videos to cheer people up.  Actors and filmmakers are finding creative ways to make short works and share them. Basketmakers, blacksmiths, and more have posted online tutorials showing people how to make wares. And they’re all doing this for free. All this in a time when other people are losing their shi… I mean, minds.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had people hang up on me, unfriend me on Facebook, yell at me – for reasons I still don’t understand, and get angry at me when I returned something they insisted I borrow – but I apparently had for too long … Wut? People’s nerves are raw. They are not equipped to handle this type of environment. But then, why is it that artists can… and not only do, but actually rise above and become the glue holding everything together?

There are a lot of theories on this. One artist told me that he deals with ongoing depression and has already imagined every worst-case scenario possible, so this isn’t actually that bad to him. Others prefer the isolation brought on by stay-at-home orders and are flourishing with this free time. While other people are bored out of their minds being forced to stay home, creative people are seeing this as an opportunity to make art. And some creative people, especially writers – are escaping into the worlds they created to help them cope with what’s going on around us, which is a tactic nowhere new to them.

I would love to see a study on why creatives are so resilient during this unprecedented time.

In an article from April this year, Architectural Digest quotes a meme: “As you binge watch your thirteenth entire series or read a book or sleep to music, remember. Remember that in the darkest days when everything stopped, you turned to artists.”

Keep doing what you’re doing, artists. My hat’s off to you all. Rock on.

Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

18 thoughts on “Blessed are the Meek”

  1. That would be an interesting study. I suspect that we ARE so resilient exactly because we’ve been “bullied, yelled at, belittled, dismissed….” Need I go on? We’ve been trained to it. And, with many of us falling into the introvert category, we’ve learned to cope mostly silently and so developed a core of independence. We’re the observers and caretakers – and analyzers, and so I also suspect we have better insight into what’s going on around us. But who am I; what do I know?

    1. I think that’s really astute – we’ve been conditioned to manage on our own and deal with things when the world is cruel. I think you know a lot, Yvonne! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. Good thoughts 🙂 I have offered up several of my books for free during the pandemic and seen record numbers of people picking them up. That, and I’ve taken up sculpting. Art keeps me going aong with my family and a new book in editing.

    1. That’s generous of you to offer your books. And art is such a good release. I think many who didn’t do a craft because their jobs got in the way have taken them up. I think it’s wonderful. 🙂

  3. The act of creation (art, carpentry, rebuilding a ’57 Chevy, you name it) is one of the most joyful and self-affirming activities a human can achieve. It doesn’t have to be great, it doesn’t have to be beautiful. It just has to be yours. Artists have all discovered this secret, and the nay-sayers and bullies have no idea.

  4. Sorry you’ve had to deal with so much backlash from those less equip. As an artist, I’ve already been dealing with sh—Stuff for years. New situation. Same depression. But I’ve had time to build up an arsenal of skills to combat it, where others haven’t. Most people haven’t, so they’re falling apart.
    Go Artist!

  5. I love this, and I’m so glad you wrote about it. I wouldn’t have actually put two and two together, but I think you’re absolutely right. And this: Remember that in the darkest days when everything stopped, you turned to artists–this makes me cry. Thanks for making my day.

  6. I suspect creative people come in all “shapes and sizes” personality-wise. People categorize and pigeonhole, but really one size never fits all. I’ve heard that more creative people are more likely to like cats and less creative people are more likely to like dogs. I like them both. I’m also one of the more stable people I know (which may sound flippant or conceited, but it’s just an observation). I haven’t been bullied or abused, although I suppose I’ve been on the receiving end of other people’s ire a few times. But who hasn’t been?

    If it’s true that creative people hold the world together when it’s falling apart, maybe it’s simply because they have vision. But others do, too. The religious person who tends to the sick and the poor despite the risk to themselves is also holding the world together. , They have vision, too.

    We’re all in this together. Always have been, always will be. True visionaries know that and help us see it, no matter what their field of action.

  7. I’ve said before that we artistic types are more prone to emotional extremes because we have to understand those feelings firsthand in order to communicate them to the world. Depression is the one emotion often cited, but so happiness. My mother suffered a stroke this past January and was hospitalized in a rehab center for a few months before they had to release her. Not long after she returned home, someone contacted the county Adult Protected Services whereupon they made a few surprise visits. A representative threatened to remove her from our home if I didn’t find a way to get her back into a rehab center. Then she died in June. I visited a friend last week who told me that – in a strange way – it was a good thing my mother died when she did because I wouldn’t have been able to handle a battle with county APS.

    “You’re the creative type,” he added, “so you’re very sensitive inside.”

    My first reaction was to become vocally offended. And while it bothered me, I told him I wasn’t so sensitive that I couldn’t defend myself even against a state agency. After all, my mother’s welfare was at stake, and accusations of abuse are serious. I also informed him that we creative types aren’t as fragile as we seem to the outside world. The worst thing anyone can do is to underestimate us. Besides, at age 56, I didn’t get to this point in my life from being overly sensitive.

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