Inspire your heart with art

I'm sad that there's an awareness day for this, shouldn't everyone's every day be inspired by some kind of art?

Since I became a full-time writer I spend a lot of time surrounded by music, pictures, books, tv and films, and radio - lots of radio and I don't feel guilty. Every engagement with art is an inspiration, it's all feeding my creativity, some of it directly as research for pieces, and some of it because "why not?" It might inspire something, even if it's a deep desire to never do that.

But why does doing art so often make us feel guilty? Is it because it feels like we're not doing anything during that time? Do we feel like it's just escapism, fantasy, taking us away from more academic or useful work?

I was thinking about this as I looked at news stories about arts education being cut in English schools in favour of more academic subjects, mostly because...

I wasn't very good at maths lessons (in fact it took me SIX goes to pass my maths O' Level), but I can follow a cooking recipe with all the weighing required and I can work out which pot to choose by imagining the amount of stuff a recipe will produce.

I can estimate how much fabric or yarn I'll need to complete a craft project, or how large an area I'll need for plants in my garden.

I was hopeless at chemistry, yet I can do it when I'm cooking or painting.

The only other languages I can read are music and knitting patterns.

I can work out how I should be playing a piece of music by looking at the fractions and blobs on the page.

Acting helped my memory and my confidence no end (standing alone on a stage reciting the opening to the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English anyone?)

And enjoying exploring and creating in lots of different forms - some more successfully than others, gave me the confidence to say to a magazine editor one day "I could do that, I could write for you", and here I am 13 years later, still proving that the arts inspire my heart every day.


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