Reflection+on+Reflections


Photo courtesy of Amanda Simons

I apologize for baffling or perhaps even dismaying some 360 Main Street readers by not explaining my editorial decisions regarding such new items as "Reflections" and "Daily Photos," so I will take the time to clarify my insistence that the "Reflections" tab find a home at the site. Although 360 Main Street is largely made up of journalistic pieces about arts and entertainment and other topics that fall under the rubric of lifestyles, I believe it necessary to ponder why art is important to people in the first place. By art, I mean art in its broadest sense: visual arts, performing arts, music, and literature.

Swiss multi-media artist and philosopher Paul Klee wrote: "Art does not reproduce what we see; it makes us see."  The French in which Klee wrote this phrase more directly translates to art "makes something visible," that is, perceptible, perhaps even understandable through some sort of epiphany. Yet because we still have to interact with the art for it to communicate on any level, it (art) doesn't make us see/hear/feel anything without our consent. We must meet art halfway to do more than let it wash over us in a casual way.

What does art make the audience perceive, understand, feel differently? How does art change the person who experiences it? Only the audience can know, despite whatever intentions the artist may have had in creating art because art has to be experienced and, in effect, co-created. In literature this way of viewing a work is called reader response theory, and I see the analogous audience response theory as being valid for any kind of art.

We might try to understand the artist's broad motivations in choosing to create or intention to communicate in whatever piece before us. Why should someone desire to create art and thus face the challenges that the world places before the artist?  What is the imperative? What does the artist hope to accomplish? These are questions that artists should answer to create meaning in their lives.

By the same token, why should people be both creators and consumers of art, or simply be consumers of art? How does it enrich the audience or the owner? And I don't mean by making millions or selling art on secondary markets. How does experiencing art make life better, more meaningful?

These are legitimate questions worthy of thoughtful answers. And some of the best answers come through personal reflections that may be written in many genres: essays, prose poems, letters, prose snapshots, to name a few.  Let's briefly consider the pieces published under this tab so far.

Amanda Larons's "Dug" gives us glimpses into how a work of art, a marionette named Dug crafted by her father, took on a role in her family that still affects her as an adult. Her reflection on that family Pinocchio is a well-written personal essay that might cause readers to pause and consider their interactions with objects (art or other) in their lives. They might also consider what might be their own "family legends." Thoughtful.

In "Dawn of a New Day Café," Shiloh Slaughter sings the praises of a person who, and by extension a place that, encourages her creativity. Where are those places and who are those people in your lives? I hope that you all have them. I know I do—and they are very important to me.

Finally, the prose poem "Flight" expresses a "zone" experience, a transcendent moment brought about by interacting with the most pervasive artwork of all—the universe.

These are a small sampling of the kinds of pieces that would be appropriate for the "Reflections" tab. I invite readers to share their reflections on art by sending them to me through the "Submit a Story" tab, and if chosen, I will ask for photo suggestions. Thank you.