Written by Art Is Essential

Art is Essential May 2021

Writers on the art that matters to them. #ArtIsEssential


Guest Editor, Tim Cummings

Rabbit murals and Mendelssohn’s chorales. Aging in silence beside haunting arias of grief. Lady Liberty’s aching beckoning, and “a half-brook hybrid”—the man who melts into stone. These six micro-essays kaleidoscoped my heart into spurts of color, sadness, sound, and hope.

From opera to poetry, with a dash of subway art, these lovely pieces were originally submitted in the very heart of summer, when the world had settled into its horrific new normal: infections and deaths and economic uncertainties. We should have been beaching and traveling, gallivanting and memory-making. Creating our own works of art. Instead, in the core of the summer, we gazed out blurred windows at a world dimmed by seemingly endless demises. Helpless, and angry, and sad, and curious, these writers shared their comfort food with us.

Reading them, collecting them, felt like watching a Lars von Trier movie—Melancholia, perhaps—a classic, baroque-like beauty broken by an ominous celestial event. Meant to re-frame the oft-misunderstood toils of dark clinical depression, the story transcends it into something more vivid, mercurial, and definitive—even if that meant the end of the world was imminent. I’d be okay with that, I imagine, as long as I was riding the emptied-out NYC subway tunnels through a clackety maze of tiled rabbits.

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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