Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Everybody Hurts...Sometimes

The writer writes because he/she is compelled to.  Just as the painter is compelled to paint, the sculptor to sculpt, the actor to act.  The fact is most artists, with the exception of a few—Hirst, JKR, Liam Neeson, find it difficult to make ends meet.  We don’t begrudge the high earners their success—they too will have suffered and made sacrifices, we are inspired by it, but the fact remains, creating art does not provide a steady income.  Most artists, be they writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, actors, have to work day jobs to subsidise their income, or simply go without…holidays, clothes, new cars…  Actors, who we might applaud in the theatre or recognise in the odd TV drama, whilst “resting” in between roles are often to be found working at not very glamorous jobs in order to be able to make themselves available when a part becomes available.

It is the artist’s choice then, some would say.  They are choosing to “suffer for their art”.  Some might say an artist has to suffer to in order to create great art, that suffering enhances creativity, take the work of Van Cough, the seemingly tortured paintings of Goya, the music of Ella Fitzgerald.

Going without is not so much an option, of course, for the artist who has family/children dependent on them, which leads me to my topic.  Peel back the layers and look at most “creative” individuals trying to promote themselves via the media or social forums on the Internet and you will find…a person!  If you get to know that person a little better, read between the lines, if you will, you will begin to realise that the person has suffered in some way, grown from that suffering, very probably, finding in themselves exceptional qualities to cope, perhaps with loss, poverty, depravation, oppression, bullying. Often calling on hidden strengths and giving of unremitting love and dedication to support ailing parents, spouses, special children. 

As human beings we cannot fail to feel for the casualties of the terrible dual tragedy in Japan, the oppressed people of Libya, the victims of the floods in India…so many world tragedies.  Compassion unites us as people, or it should.  We have to support those so tragically less fortunate than ourselves.  And, for the most part, we do.  Our generosity of spirit as a Nation is overwhelming when we are called upon by those who need us.

Knowing we are capable of such compassion then, take time to look a little harder at the people we interact with on a daily basis, whether it be face-to-face or via some other communication forum (as fellow Brit Writers’ Awards author Sinead Gillespie pointed out in her blog Sinead: An author with an Aspie).  Take a look.  Read Sinead’s other blogs, while you are there.  Find out about the person.  Likewise, take a moment to look at Claire Kinton’s recent blog Living with Dyslexia.  Both blogs will strike chords for many people.  As authors, we share this information precisely for that reason, to help other people and, importantly, hopefully, to inspire.

We all, whoever we are, have most likely suffered life’s psychological and emotional dramas.  It’s part of being human.  Kindness and understanding is something we can offer others to ease that suffering sometimes…and it costs nothing.  We can give that freely.  We could even have a “be kind to people” Internet philosophy.  It’s a thought.  A lot of people get hurt by unkind comment via internet forums, occasionally with catastrophic consequences.

I have someone “special” in my life.  I can’t share more, for his sake.  This I will say though.  Yesterday, after his hospital appointment and while I was standing petrified, literally frozen with shock to the spot, that person took the initiative that others couldn’t and whisked a toddler—a rosy-cheeked, smiling toddler—from the path of an oncoming bus.  There were several other buses behind it, coming at speed along a city centre bus lane.  Beside herself, the little girl’s mum burst into tears.  My heart stopped.  My special person shrugged—as if he did that kind of thing twice a day and marched on. 

A very special person indeed. 

Life can be kind.  Equally, it can be terribly cruel.  We all suffer.  Let’s be a little kinder to each other. 


  1. Leanne, what a wonderful blog and with such an amazing story at the end of it
    Sometimes I really do think people are blind to what they doing, whether it’s an act of great kindness or unkindness.
    The reaction your friend had when the child was in danger was certainly an impulsive moment drawn from deep compassion, which I would construe as great wisdom.
    I feel we should all aspire to treat everyone with kindness, even those who are awful to us- not because we like them particularly, but because if you start casting shadows on those who are unkind you’ll have a trouble heart and I couldn’t live with that. When I was young, I marvelled at clever people. Now I’m a bit older, I tend to admire the kind people.
    I tend to think of kindness as a boomerang; always comes back at you.
    I love the ‘be kind to people’ internet philosophy – great idea!

  2. Exactly, Claire. Everyone has off moments (I certainly do!). We can't always be kind. We can't all be heroes. Being kind to people is a huge thing to do though, particularly when things are not as rosy as they could be for you.

  3. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.--The Dalai Lama

  4. Which sums it up, but more succinctly. I'm obviously in good company :). Thank you, Eiry.

  5. Gosh how amazing your special someone was! I'd have been the one standing in shock, I'm sure.

    I'm with you on being kind - it's just easier isn't it, to be nice to each other and to support each other? :)

    Lovely blog and lovely sentiments.

  6. From someone who had to go back and apologise for snapping at shop assistant one Christmas, dragging a thousand shopping bags along with her I'd say, yes, far easier. :) Better to smile in the first place. I bet her feet were hurting far more than mine!

  7. Your blog speaks to the heart.

    Every thing you do comes back to you whether it is a smile or a cross word, better a smile and little acts of kindness, leads to a peaceful world that all can shine in.

  8. Oh, so very true, Sakthi. Smile and the world smiles back! :)