We hear many artists talk about finding peace through creating art. They say art is how they express themselves and work through depression, heartache, trauma. With art they plumb the deepest and darkest waters of their souls. Their creativity is a compulsive investigation of what troubles them; their creativity is fed by those waters and grows from a seed to a sapling to a tree. This is dishonest, or only half-told.
Creativity is inherently optimistic. It is the manifestation of hope that one’s world might be made better. Or at least: to create anything at all is to posit a future. To create from darkness is to believe in light. For an artist to paint the color of her sorrow she must know the color of her joy.
But our basest selves are nihilistic and atemporal. Our basest selves are neither hopeful nor hopeless. Our basest selves are numb the way a stone is numb—which is to say, not even numb. Our basest selves are uncreative.
I consider petrified wood.