In Praise of the Art on Your Fridge

In Praise of the Art on Your Fridge July 26, 2017

She loved all His art.
She loved all His art.

When a boy I wrote a very bad poem that began: “Cry for an age without romance, weep for Prometheus unchained . . .” Whatever the last bit meant, I felt sad, morose even, and the poem helped. The sad thing is that I made the mistake of showing this outpouring of childhood passion to an actual poet. He was kind, but blunt: no good.

As a kid, I recall sitting in the woods and singing folk songs while playing the recorder and it was deep, very deep. I discovered in college that while church choir directors might be glad to see me coming, nobody wanted to pay to hear me sing!

As for my experiments in making art, they made it to the refrigerator at Mom’s house and that is where they should have stayed. There is a lesson to be learned: make art, write poetry, sing songs. And do not make a basic mistake: everyone does not need to see the art, read the poetry, and hear the songs.

This is hard to do. We are taught to either be good at something or stop doing it. I keep singing, playing the recorder (a fun instrument, easy to play moderately well), and writing poetry for Hope, but that does not mean everyone should be subjected to this outpouring of creativity. That leads to an obvious truth: it is jolly to do creative things badly!

There is more though: there is a sweet humility in being bad at things. That is good for me. Trying and failing is not just fine, but enjoyable, leaving tasks for eternity. The fruit of my amateur efforts are enjoyable in a deep way to my family and friends just as their attempts at art are wonderful to me.

Art made in community offers something no amount of money can buy.

My children’s art is meaningful to me, even if it would not be to other people. I know the artist, so I love the art. Perhaps the easiest way to know this truth is to think of amateur theatricals. Nobody should go to a high school play who does not know the players (or who does not love amateur acting), but if you fit either category a good home grown play is splendid. I would rather go to a play at The Saint Constantine School than many a London or New York show I have seen.


The community creates a bond between artist and audience that makes a different kind of experience. It is not better really, but different. There is a pulling for the chums and then delight when they pull it off. As You Like It is tough stuff and the kids did alright.


The beauty of Shakespeare blends with the gift and it is joyous! The only thing that ruins such amateur fun is when the audience or the performers do not take it seriously or take it seriously in the wrong way. The other mistake is if the audience demands professional quality of amateurs and so miss the beauty of this other thing.

When I die, there is a collection of art that will be thrown away. It is a folder of cards and pictures that my children (now adults!) gave me as kids. I love them. They are priceless to me. If you wanna know the things with a price tag on them, check out the ALDI Catalogue for special buys. I do not mind that they have no value to other people because the value is the bond between the giver and me.

And, of course, I worry about writing here, but I figure the free-market will decide if I continue and my mother at least likes what I write!

Rachel Motte edited this essay and composed the sub-heading.

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