Brain Food #645

The madness of making

Thoughts of the day

Yesterday’s Brain Food was an allusion to choosing to do things that matter, that we have the power to control the narrative of our lives. What matters, of course, can wildly change from one person to the next, and what may seem meaningless to one may mean the world to another.

One such endeavour is art.

In a 1998 interview, David Bowie described all culture as ‘extra’:

“I think the saner and rational approach to life is to survive steadfastly and create a protective home and create a warm loving environment for one’s family and get food for them. That’s about it. Anything else is extra. All culture is extra… It’s unnecessary and it’s a sign of the irrational part of man. We should just be content with picking nuts.”

We may not all be content with picking nuts, although Bowie does himself wonder why art is produced, describing it as “a sign of a certain kind of dysfunction, of social dysfunctionalism anyway. It’s an extraordinary thing to do, to express yourself in such rarified terms.”

As Catherine Lacey said, wanting to write, or indeed to make something, anything, “feels like a rock in your shoe or something, and you have to get it out.”

And that is exactly why self-expression exists as a concept. Our feelings can exist to help us navigate the complexities of life, and identify what matters.

Sometimes, a feeling is all it starts with. If you feel the rock, act on it.