I know that we have all found ourselves in this position. The position where we are enjoying a song on our local radio station (or Pandora) and we begin to realize that the words spoken by the creator of the song don’t seem to match the upbeat tempo. We find ourselves thinking, “these words can’t be right… the sound of this tune is much too joyous for these beat down sort of words.” I think that this phenomenon can be, and probably has been, exposed in all of our creative paths at one point or another. I can confidently say this because we are all human. As humans, we encounter moments of reality and truth within our creation as we are living through true pain.
Don’t worry, this is not some kind of bluster to say that pain is good. However, it is real and some might agree, necessary in real life. I’m also not saying that we should pursue hard lives or painful moments in order to create authentic and true works. Furthermore, I’m NOT saying that we should take advantage of our hurts so that we can make a real and trustworthy composition. All that I aim to say is that pain brings out the truth in our work.
Therefore, when we create during times of pain and anguish we often think thoughts or make material that we never dreamed we would. We can look at Van Gough, one of the undisputed best painters to ever live, and see the evidence of pain in his work. Not only was his work indisputably great but his pain was also undeniably intense and real. He cut off his own ear for goodness sake.
So I think a point to be made is that whatever we make is an expression of our real emotions. To illustrate this you might say that a disgruntled and unhappy person may not organize the best kind of atmosphere for a birthday party. Or you might say that someone who hates to cook might make a meal that looks ugly and tastes bad because they hated making it. But for the purposes of pain bringing out truth in our creations we might instead see a writer completely change their style or a photographer begin to shoot with much less light or chef chop carrots with more passion… I’m not sure.
I know that when I find my self in times of hurt and pain I write with greater emotion, draw with more vigor, and entertain in a way that may be considered less enjoyable.
So why is it that pain and heart ache cause us to suddenly view the world through new filters and see what we make in new light? Why does pain, more than happiness, come through in our creations in a way that is more full of faith? Why is the truth so much easier to convey when it hurts?