Why do you create? Whether it's writing, making art, or creating something with your hands, why do you do it? I have been struggling with this idea for a while, and I really don't know the answer to it. I'm beginning to see glimpses of the answer for me, personally, and I'm not liking what I'm beginning to understand about myself.
The first answer some of us may give is, "Because I can." And that answer works, to a certain degree, with me too. That answer falls under the category of having a talent and using it, but upon closer inspection, I find fault with myself by doubting whether I CAN, in fact. That is, do I really have a talent or merely a propensity? How do I measure up when comparing myself with others? Can I justify the time and money spent on creating objects or pieces of work that are made to give or trade with others and that have no lasting significance other than the fleeting satisfaction given to the maker or the recipient?
Because I do not create "fine" art, I am beginning to believe that the ephemeral existence of my pieces does not justify their creation. What happens with the things I am making after a couple of years? When I die, I will be leaving behind thousands of dollars of supplies that my survivors will either pitch or sell at tag sales. Will there be some of my descendants who will treasure and display my creations? I don't think so. First of all, look at what we are doing to the Victorians' scrapbooks. We're tearing them apart for the German paper cuts and the calling cards to use in our own pieces. Our own society is not one of saving and treasuring items of the past; we are living in a throw-away society where each item has its own obsolescence programmed into itself.
The ephemeral nature of paper arts and hand-crafted items is not the only reason I am struggling with this issue. I am also beginning to understand my true motives for creating. I think I am looking for recognition. Can this be good? It seems narcissistic in nature. There is a book out now, and I don't remember the title, but it examines why the social networking sites like Blogger, Facebook, My Space, Twitter, all these things that people are using to talk about their lives, are so popular right now. I believe its premise is that at some level, people are all insecure narcissists who need to have someone admire them for something and/or make their lives matter for something. I think I fall into this category. Can that be healthy? Why am I putting this out here now? To sound important? To make you feel sorry for me? To have you reassure me that what I do is important? Or is the answer to all my questioning merely that I think too much?
I am probably doing just what every other person in the world does at some point or other and which a philosopher (again, can't remember who) calls the stages of man. I am at the point in my life where I am questioning whether my existence has made a difference on the planet. I think I just need to get to the point of acceptance and stop worrying about all of this stuff. But how am I ever going to justify the money I have spent on all these art supplies? Maybe my claim to fame after I am gone will be, "Man, look at all the cool stuff she had!"