One lesson I’ve learned: I shouldn’t attempt to use creativity to control moods, to ameliorate feelings. What has been more pernicious than the idea of expressive release? It is the subordination of creative work to the ephemeral needs of the squealing child within; it is a kind of confusion: the mistaking of emotions which ostensibly drive one to certain sorts of reflection, experience, invention for the result of reflection, experience, invention, or perhaps the mistaking of the state one might wish to provoke in an audience with one’s own state.
What an abuse of art —any art at any level— to think that it is a kind of therapy. Whether it can be effective as therapy is immaterial; it is a delusion to think of it as effective creative work, no matter how much resonance it achieves. It is not deliberate; it is not considered; it is screaming, and simply because one can burst into tears and others cry at the sight of it does not mean anything meaningful has occurred. Tears from sorrow and tears from onions both make the sympathetic, near to tears themselves, cry. You turn your sorrow into a prop, and your work is just “learning to make yourself cry”: disgusting.
This deforms you, too. The exploitative relationship we all now have with our feelings; our exploitative relationship with our own experience. The commodification of this or that profession or material is nothing compared to the mediated commodification of our own lives, undertaken by us for no one’s benefit. The margins are terrible; there are ten million manufacturers driving down the value of suffering, disaster, loneliness on any given social network.