You won’t believe what my son Drew said to me. He said it last night when I picked him up from basketball practice, tapped the wheel, with glee, and said out loud how I hoped we would be home before the opening number on the CMA Awards. And Drew said this, “What is it about awards shows that you love so much?”
Do you ever stumble onto someone’s blog, and they definitely have a thing about something, but you’re not sure where it comes from? E.g., “What is the deal with this girl always talking about chopsticks? Does she collect them? Make crafts? Play it on the piano?” You enjoy the joke, but you can’t say you really get it. Well, my chopsticks is awards shows. And I figured I would tell you what I told Drew – just in case you’re not sure what the deal is.
I love awards shows because I love the arts. I love it when people make things. I love a performance. Awards shows have a lot of all of that. It’s a place to be for two or three hours in which making things appears to be the highest calling. We makers of things are all in a room, and we’re bringing it in. Huddling together around the thing we all love most, slapping each other on the back for being a part of the most fun life path in the world. I mean we may not have invented the internet, but we brought you Lost, people. We wrote Eye of the Tiger and its recent grandchild, Katy Perry’s Roar. The Thriller choreography? Artists did that. Star Wars, Princess Bride, and the theme song to Cheers: All us. This is an awards show – in a nutshell. It’s a gathering of people who love, love, love the things that have been made, the people who make them, and the fact that at least they get to play some large or small part in it. There should be an equivalent for every thing that anyone loves. I’m telling you.
What I love about the arts is a longer story. But one version of the story is this: I love that art makes the familiar matter. Not one single part of our day or our year or our life, is too mundane to celebrate through art. Oreos and milk, the microwave, cubicles, the grocery store – not a one of them too ho-hum to be in the movies or a poem. Not a single one.
Sometimes, when life feels especially artless for me, I do whatever I can to bring art back in. It’s usually just a subtle shift, taking the moment to look at the hallway at work or the road home or the parent pick-up line and realize the I was here of it all.
When I go to the store in the evenings now, it’s dark. And I am so reminded of a night like that just at the end of a quick but difficult bout with postpartum, it might as well actually be fourteen years ago. I’m on my way home to my baby, and I feel unsure about it and sort of strange and just a tiny bit troubled, but I can tell the strange parts are fading, and in their place, I’m a mom. And I’m glad. On the night most recently that led to this nostalgia, the moon was just a striking, brilliant sliver, and the sky still looked velvety blue, even in the dark, and I saw it. I stood still in the moment at least long enough to really feel it. I took a picture, too. The beauty didn’t translate, but it doesn’t really matter. I was there.
I was there this week in the mornings when Jake meticulously combed the front of his hair to look exactly like he wanted it to, even when I didn’t understand quite what look he was going for. I was there every morning when he left my car and disappeared into the building five hundred million times his size and at five o’clock when I finally took him back from it. The stop lights that stay red way past the point of sanity, the new road past Truman State University with the pretty median in the middle, the downtown restaurants I love to eat at because I feel more a part of my city. I was there for all of it. I took it in. I made it art.
The arts are “a very human way of making life more bearable.” (Kurt Vonnegut said that.) And I agree.
A really fun awards show doesn’t hurt either. I’m just saying. I think we should find more reasons to give each other awards for things, laugh with each other, end feuds, and for goodness sake, have another montage.
Bring it in > See paragraph three, for which I actually googled, “Songs everyone likes” in order to come up with Eye of the Tiger. It makes me wonder: What would be on your list of good things art has brought us? i.e., “I’m so glad somebody made that….” Think songs, books, movies, paintings – you name it. If I get enough responses, I’ll post a list! A list to make life more bearable for us all…..