The Consolations of Art
"Ah, those strange people who have the courage to be unhappy. *Are* they unhappy, by the way?"
Alice James, *Diary*, 1889
What might be the alchemy that transposes suffering, or mere contentment, into happiness? Most artists come to understand and hold to one ineradicable consolation: every type of experience, without exception, contains food for thought, material for contemplation, a lesson in life. Perhaps their acrobatic feats of regeneration and renewal are as much explained by this tenacity, linked to unbounded curiosity, as it is by those all too noticeable balancing acts around recognition, motivation and self-esteem.