Going Nowhere



“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” ― Pablo Picasso


I once read an interview article of Ottessa Moshfegh, the author of the short story collection “Homesick For Another World”. The title of the article was “Finding Meaning in Going Nowhere”. Writing helped the author find a purpose in life, give meaning to her very existence and also connect with something transcendent. She also talks about a singer, a prodigy, LenaZavaroni, who channeled all her turmoil and complicated emotions into her voice. Her life was short and end was tragic but her spirit was always true to her art, her voice made her immortal.

“Earth is the wrong place for me, always was and will be until I die.”- A child narrator in one of Moshfegh’s short stories.

Sometimes we feel our existence is absurd. We need something to live for- a meaning in what we do perhaps, when the question of our very existence seems pointless. Why were we even born? What do we have to offer in this world that is already has everything in abundance? And the struggle is real- finding a semblance of meaning in the deep down meaninglessness of everything. And at some point when Art provides just that, we have difficulty explaining it to people why we choose to devout our time to Art, who think it is rather a waste of time.
Ennui- A feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of meaningful occupation, purpose or excitement.

And then one day, there comes a time when some of the lucky and persistent artists tap into the divine through their art. They move minds and masses. Then, people see them transcending the limits of humanity. Art becomes devotion. Art becomes worship.
 “Why do we do anything? When I’m depressed, that is the existential depression for me. It’s not like I need to be brilliantly happy all the time, and have everybody telling me I’m wonderful. I don’t need that. But if I’m not going anywhere, why don’t I just be dead?” – Ottessa Moshfegh

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”- your purpose. It is so ingrained in the Japanese culture that everyone in Japan invests time in their lives to find their Ikigai. It is a deep, lengthy search. It needs retrospection and being true to oneself, and the Japanese culture encourages this. It might be work, hobbies or just parenting. It is the Japanese secret to a long, happy and fulfilling life. Seems true, since world’s largest population beyond a 100 years are Japanese. May be artistic pursuit is your ikigai.


Art has saved lives. It really has. It really does. The materialization of an idea and being able to give it a shape, form and structure is a great feeling. When art resonates, you feel moved. Your body responds to it as it responds to music. It makes you ecstatic.
“We make art about our own ineffectuality, and in doing that, somehow we are no longer ineffectual.”

As author Emily Esfahani explains in her famous TED talk and in her book “The Power Of Meaning”, meaning comes down to four pillars- storytelling, belonging, purpose and transcendence.

Duende- (spanish) the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person

Taking up passion projects, which may not make any sense to others, but is valuable to your life, can lead to personal transformation. Let overcoming resistance to create, be your first priority. You may think that you have never resisted yourself ever in creative challenges, but on proper scrutiny you can see the many times that you hesitated, whatever be the reason. 

I am participating in the #AToZChallenge with #BlogchatterA2Z and I am sharing posts themed around Art for this entire month of April. Share and connect with me on social media.
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