I picked up Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist at a used book sale over the summer. Full disclosure: I did not expect to love this book. Nonfiction titles from Christian publishing companies usually aren’t my favorite, but I listen to Shauna regularly on the Relevant Magazine podcast and I read her book “Bread and Wine” over the summer, so here we are. Cold Tangerines was one of my favorite books of 2014. Here’s an example of why; a few paragraphs directed to those who are artists.
Thank you. Thank you, and keep going. Please keep writing songs. Please keep believing in music, because we do, and we need it, and specifically, we need yours. We need the sounds and words and rhythms of hope and longing and beauty. We need the drums and the strings and the haunting twist of your voice. We need the poetry of your lyrics and the spirit and force of your sounds. We’re desperate for great music, and there’s so much out there, but never, ever enough. We’re desperate for great storytellers, great painters, great dancers, great cooks, because art does something nothing else does.
Art slips past our brains straight into our bellies. It weaves itself into our thoughts and feelings and the open spaces in our souls, and it allows us to live more and say more and feel more. Great art says the things we wished someone would say out loud, the things we wish we could say out loud….
Please keep believing that life can be bigger, brighter, broader, because of the art that you make. Please keep demonstrating the courage that it takes to swim upstream in a world that prefers putting away for retirement to putting pen to paper, that chooses practicality over poetry, that values you more for going to the gym than going to the deepest places in your soul. Please keep making art for people like me, people who need the magic and imagination and honesty of great art to make the day-to-day world a little more bearable.
See? Full of great stuff just like that.
from Cold Tangerines, by Shauna Niequist. Zondervan, 2007.