Early to Rise Challenge: Day 8

Well, so much for the "remembering to keep my camera by the nightstand" accomplishment I boasted about yesterday.

This is actually after waking and showering
 Fortunately, it's probably the least important thing I'm concerned about accomplishing with this challenge.

This was probably the best morning I've had so far.  Second-earliest start-the-day time (5:52 a.m.) and I actually managed to get a small chore done after my quiet time (I unloaded the dishwasher and washed some pots and pans that have been loitering on the counter for longer than I care to admit).  I didn't have time for much else because of errands and a physical therapy appointment on the other side of town, but I did manage to pack a picnic lunch (it was only about 60° but I thought it would be fun anyway - wish I'd remembered the snickerdoodles from the cookie jar, though) and afterwards the kids and I walked about a one-mile trail through the local nature center.

Poor Sunshine was extremely traumatized by the fly that landed on the picnic cooler for some reason, but otherwise had a good time.

Today's topic is "Find the Artist in You."  I must admit, from Crystal's synopsis, I too am baffled by the exact connection between early rising and creating art.  And the "shipping it" language as a metaphor for sharing it with the world seems like the sort of tortured postmodernistic phraseology you'd find in university English departments; it's horribly reminiscent of the "be a witness and testify to pain" theme of the "Literature and Medicine" course I took one semester.  However, I do have to admit again here that I could not read the Early to Rise book that this challenge is based on firsthand, so I'm willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt that the concept is explained better in the book.

"Art" is one of those concepts that has become very elusive to define, especially with all the variations that are presented to us.  What exactly is it that makes a book, a painting, a concert and an exquisitely-prepared meal all fall into the category of "art?"  Merriam-Webster defines art as "the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects."  I happen to like the definition I invented (and am still refining) that art is the communication of an intangible concept or emotion through a tangible object.

The "fineness" of the art depends on the skill required to create the work, the depth or complexity of the intangible being communicated, and the effectiveness of the communication with the intended audience.  If the artist intends one message and the audience receives something else (or nothing at all), then the art value of the work is diminished.  But that doesn't mean it is entirely without value, if it is created with skill.  And even those of us with more mundane talents may still create art, even if it does have lesser skill or a simpler, more everyday message than the kind of productions that art critics gush over.  A simple handknit garment, for instance, can say "I love you," "You're worth my time," "I want to wrap you in something warm," or even "We need more whimsy in our lives:"

Perhaps it is the spirit of communication that Andy Traub feels is so important to early rising.  Being socially engaged is an important activity to living a full human life.  There's no real point in rising early if we are not using the time to get more out of the day.  And maximizing our daily potential shouldn't just be about how many chores we can fit in and how self-disciplined a cocoon we can create for ourselves.  Unless we reach out and touch others, our personal lives will only bloom and then fade away as the flower of the grass.


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