4A Arts believes that art, culture, design and craft are a central pillar of wellness and good health. This belief inspires our focus on Arts+ Well-being in our 2024 agenda. We explored the notion of creativity as a balm for loneliness in our ideas section, but there is more to research regarding loneliness and art. Further, some believe that loneliness inspires creativity, inspiring an upward spiral of wellness and creative productivity.
In this episode of Framing the Hammer we chat with Richard Deming, Yale Director of Creative Writing and author of the recently published, This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts and the Understood Can Teach Us About Creativity. In his study, Deming profiles six historic figures who publicly wrestled with loneliness and used creativity to cope (Melanie Klein, Zora Neale Hurston, Walker Evans, Walter Benjamin, Egon Shiele, Ron Serling). Their creative legacies leave us tools for better understanding loneliness, especially the fact that loneliness affects virtually every person. Deming adds that personal vulnerability and intimacy in relationships (both platonic and romantic) help curb loneliness. These elements (vulnerability and intimacy) are critical to creativity as they inspire self-awareness and empathy. With these tools, we see that, indeed, loneliness inspires creativity.