“Writing as an act of optimism? Maybe that’s true. …

“Writing as an act of optimism? Maybe that’s true. I mean, why bother if you have no hope, even a very small hope, for our species. Maybe, as artists, we think that if we stop and look closely, or if we look closely enough, something good could come of that gaze, something apprehended. O’Keefe seemed actually to do the opposite, bring us close to see the pain in the beauty, or as Rilke would say, the terror of beauty. Kahlo took her physical pain and yes, made it oddly beautiful. Did it take courage for them to do that? I don’t think they had a choice. Artists seem to be compelled to do what they do, obsessed, preternaturally alert to the world, not just to pain and beauty, but as you say, the existence of each within the other. And for some reason, they feel compelled to make something of that, write it down, make a painting of it, a sculpture, a song.

Dorianne Laux

In parallel with Words for the Weekend: Write Every Single Day – Vol. 27