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Art is an Antidote: Finding Peace Through Creativity

by - Friday, March 20, 2020

We blinked and the whole world changed. Times are uncertain right now and we're all waiting on the edge of our seat to see if our efforts to flatten the curve are going to pay off. I feel so thankful to be in Canada. Our vast land mass should be working in our favour and it seems the majority of people are heeding recommendations.


Thank you to every one of you who are practicing social distancing. Thank you to any of you who continue to work for an essential service so the rest of us can hunker down and wait this thing out. I am so thrilled by the stories of goodwill I'm seeing on social media, the ways people are coping by spreading their own brand of kindness. It's in moments like these we find out what we're made of. We're able to take a step back and prioritize. The things that really matter rise to the surface.

Humanity goes through cycles. We've faced devastating moments in history, and now we find ourselves in the centre of something that will be talked about long into the future. We're worried about our pantries and our bank accounts and we're doing our best to protect our children while keeping our fingers crossed we'll have jobs to return to when this is over.

On the morning of 9/11, I remember sitting on my couch in front of the TV, cradling my eight-month pregnant belly, terrified that I was bringing new life into such chaos. I haven't known such uncertainty since that moment. In 2001 I coped by turning off the television and sitting at the piano. I wrote new songs and they calmed my spirit. Today, in 2020, I plan the same kind of approach.

Some of the greatest works of art have come during times of strife. Tolkien was inspired by war, as was C.S. Lewis. Joni Mitchell contracted polio and spent her recovery learning to play the guitar. The plague inspired many of Shakespeare's plays, including Romeo and Juliet. If everything crumbles there is one thing we can never lose: art.

Storytelling has been the foundation of humanity since the very beginning. It is what sets us apart from every other creature on earth. Our human-ness is in our story. How we tell that story is up to us.

Use this time to reconnect to the storyteller in you. Write. Paint. Knit. Draw. Journal. Colour. Read. I predict that we will see new voices rise, new talents discovered, and new hope found at our fingertips and in our paint brushes. We were designed to create.

Now is not the time to let insecurity stop you. So many of us fight the invisible demon of self-doubt when we work on creative projects. Know this: you are the only one who can tell your story. By doing away with the need for perfection, we give ourselves permission to create with a childlike innocence—powerful work can come from that.

My daughter is eleven years old and gave up playing with toys a long time ago. Being forced to find new ways to fill the day has caused her to set aside whatever it was she had inside her that told her to be done with childish things. Our Thomas the Tank Engine set was pulled out from a bin under the stairs and she's been building a new track every day. She's not embarrassed. She's not suddenly less of an eleven-year-old. She's using her imagination in a way that was tucked aside because the world told her she should care more about painting her nails than finding joy in simple play. She is setting a beautiful example for the rest of us.

Let your imagination run wild. Build new worlds. Hug the people you're stuck with. Get fresh air every day. Sing at the top of your lungs while you do the dishes.

And make something beautiful with this gift of time. Tell your story and find a way to share it.

—Alanna Rusnak
Editor in Chief

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All past digital issues of Blank Spaces are on sale for 80% off. Use the code STAYHOME at checkout and spend some time being inspired by amazing Canadian talent.

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Canada Post has issued a statement that while they will continue to deliver mail, they can no longer guarantee delivery times. Everything has slowed down to allow for staff to self-isolate if necessary. We are still taking physical orders, but please be advised delivery will be slower than you've come to expect from us. Thank you for your patience during this time.

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Thank you to everyone who has already contributed to our Fifth Year Subscription Campaign. To date, our base goal of covering operating costs is 40% funded! Though the campaign remains open, we will not be pushing it until things settle down and people are back to work. You are certainly still welcome to contribute, but we will not be actively campaigning.


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