I guess it comes down to this: I think art and beauty are floating all around us; millions of balloons with colorful strings parading above our heads, waiting for one of our five sense to tether them. Sometimes, I hear a song and feel as though I must instantly and constantly be surrounded by it; I must carry it around with me like a buoyant confidant. Unscientific as it is, this is how I build my collection: grabbing hold of art that feels as I feel, or as I wish to feel, and says what I cannot. When there are bubbles and glitter in my capillaries, I would wish to open my mouth and have an entire marching band forge into the air. Only, instead of this impossible output, I immerse myself and take inward. Call it magical multi-sensical circulation. I eat, wear, watch anything that feels like a tambourine. I re-flood my body. I prevent the seepage of ecstasy.
I suppose this is why “art” must happen in the first place— to explain, with grinning accordions, or yellow silk, or black-lunged knobs of oil paint, the things that cannot be contained inside, or even defined. Gustav Mahler, a 19th century Austrian composer, once wrote “if a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.” Indeed, when I can feel a wintery loneliness tiptoeing through my bones, a single, searing cello is the only thing in the world that makes sense to me.
I said before that beauty flows all around us; the addendum to this statement is that it is our human capacity to take as much as we require, even if this means flooding our hearts to the bursting point.
Tucked in a love poem I once wrote, there’s the line: “I say Namaste and push air to the heart, inflating the corners so there is more area to give you.” It describes that sensation of being so inspired by something that you must, in a way, become bigger to accommodate its newfound presence. Sometimes, all it takes is one song, one poem, one photograph, one flavor, one garment or one idea to set off the heart’s overflow-warning whistles, to call for wider banks, a grander construction.
Every day, I hope you can grow in this way: listen, read, write, think and expand. Find one small thing that’s shiny enough to remind your heart what it is supposed to be good at. Always be looking. Start here.
Bre Goldsmith, the author of this site, lives in Providence, RI. She has also spent time in Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles.
Email post suggestions or other opportunities to Bre [at] theconstructionshop [dot] net