Written by Art Is Essential

Art Is Essential April 2021

Writers on the art that matters to them. #ArtIsEssential


Tim Cummings, Guest Editor

A lady in a meadow. A tomato. A roadmap for queerness. A death shadow-self. Spinning blobs of glass. Leaving your life for art.

These sweet truths poke out of darkness like the first seedling from well-drained soil. A small, enfolded nubbin of a thing, rubbery and tender, greening in the sun, so hopeful.

In reading hundreds of micro-flash essays about the ways in which art and life emulate one another and how, when comfort is in short supply, there is always solace in that work of creation that stirs your soul, I found myself practically paralyzed trying to decide which of these small sprouts most deserved to be moved into a brighter patch of sun.

I chose the pieces in which I experienced the experiencer’s experience. Marion Greenwood’s Mexican art, Preston Singletary’s Native American glass, Ursula K. Le Guin’s spiritually sci-fi tomes. Mary Oliver and Molly Malone Cook’s shared life of perpetual creations in queerness, Sally Mann’s photograph of a vegetable, and Kinuo Y. Craft’s rendering of a lady lying in a meadow. These artistic renderings, elucidated so beautifully by these writers, danced across my iris, thumped through my heart.

I felt these works move through these writers like blood through veins, how they risked these small acts of creation in a quarantined world to illustrate the myriad ways that art, in its endlessly expanding forms and mediums, cradles us like a newborn babe in a tired but happy mother’s arms.

Tim Cummings holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles and a BFA in Acting from New York University/Tisch School of the Arts. Recent publications include works in F(r)iction, Scare Street, Lunch Ticket, Meow Meow Pow Pow, From Whispers to Roars, and Critical Read, for which he won the “Origins” essay contest and also received a Pushcart Prize nomination for “You Have Changed Me Forever.” A regular contributor at LA Review of Books (LARB), he writes features, reviews, and interviews. He runs online and in-person Writing Workshops, does Manuscript Consulting, and individual Writing Coaching. He is the recipient of three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for his work on the stages of Los Angeles. Tim is represented by literary agent Charlie Olsen at InkWell Management. timcummings.ink for more.

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