During the past three and a half years, ever since the death of my life mate/soul mate, I’ve been contemplating the meaning of life, death, and writing. (Sometimes it’s seemed as if these concepts have been contemplating me, too, since the questions often came unbidden.)
The truth of whatever problem I am cogitating usually comes to me whole as I walk in the desert, but my current idea has come instead as a slow dawning over the past months. It seems to me that life is not science or math, not philosophy or religion, but art.
We are the painted, the painters, the patrons. We are the written, the writers, the readers. We are the play, the audience, the actors. It’s as if we painted a scene, then stepped into the body of one of our creations, experienced the life of that character, and while doing all that, we are standing back and watching the whole thing.
I wrote those paragraphs exactly a year ago, trying to work out a concept of life and our place in it, but I never got beyond that sketchy idea. It seemed real and important at the time, so I must have been going through either a mystical period or an optimistic one, but I never could reconcile pain and disabilities, mental illnesses and physical ailments with such a bright outlook. And so this blog has been sitting in my draft folder for one entire year, waiting for me to develop the idea.
Many people believe the universe is unfolding as it should, which takes away some of the aspect of art. It could be that we are the work of the Great Artist, living out our lives on Earth in the same way that the characters live out their lives between the covers of books. Or it could be, as other people believe, that life is multi-facteted, where we live many lives in many guises and reincarnations. Neither of those ideas appeals to me, though I am not egotistical enough to believe that my thoughts and opinions have any impact on the truth. The truth is the truth. Only our vision of it changes.
So, is life art? I do not know.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.