Glass jar of beautiful pens on top of a book stack

Why Beauty Matters

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling a little helpless and a little hopeless with all the news lately. Especially after the recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. There was also a mass shooting at the beginning of April where I live in Sacramento.

I feel helpless because I wonder what I can do way over here that will even make a difference. Sure, I can make donations and call my representatives (and I did), but it’s still hard to know how much of an impact that will actually make.

I feel hopeless because I start to think about the work I’m doing and questioning whether it really matters. If people on the other side of the globe are dying, fleeing their homes, fighting every day for their lives, uncertain of whether or not they will make it through the day, and unable to get bread, then why does it matter if I finish my book? If I get one more new client? If I get readers lined up for the AWP off-site event I’m planning for Under the Gum Tree at the end of the month?

Why does any of that even matter?

Maybe you’re feeling the same way about your writing or book project or other creative pursuit.

When people are suffering on such an extreme level, and we are seeing it in our news feeds every day, how can we justify indulging in our art?

Then I saw this post on Instagram:

Why beauty matters in wartime

And it reminded me why beauty and art matter, even when things seem bleak. In fact, that’s when they are even more important.

We need beauty to remind us that war and destruction are not the only things that exist in this world. That humans are capable of so much more.

Some of the other slides on that post remind us that,

“Humanity has always faced some kind of peril,” and that “we must not shelf noble virtues because calamity arises. Instead, we must become warriors of the good, emissaries of truth, and beauty makers. Beauty reaches through catastrophe to work the miracles of salvation & restoration. Beauty is the reaching hand of hope.”

I read that and was immediately reminded of why I do the work that I do—especially with supporting and making space for personal storytelling.

Even though the news may be a lot right now, there are SO many stories of hope and resilience. Of people fighting for their freedom. Of strangers helping each other.

And when the conflict ends—and it WILL end, because nothing lasts forever—we will have even more stories of how people survived, how they made it to the other side of something horrible.

That is not to discount the suffering and loss and grief.

But to remember that both joy and pain are a part of what it means to be human. We don’t know what joy is without the pain—one cannot exist without the other.

That’s why I will continue to write and work on my book. That’s why I will continue to support the clients we have and work to find new ones. That’s why I will continue to publish Under the Gum Tree, and line up readers for that event at AWP.

Because personal stories have healing power and the world will always need people to tell their story.

So tell me, how are you going to pursue beauty today? Share your thoughts below!

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