Sunday, October 26, 2008

Art Blog: TRUE Hard Times

The very second I clicked the “publish” button for my Happy Camper post yesterday, I heard a voice inside my head. It said:

“Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!!!”

I mean, come on now. Shoot! LOL LOL I am laughing out of nervousness and shame right now. No matter how much I boo-hoo about stupid things like my own frustration, I have NEVER had to live in the circumstance of true disaster. Take any time in history and there are a plethora of tragic events that stand as examples of true, devastating, hard times. So how dare I complain about my trivial, petty problems? I felt guilty even while writing the post. I hate to admit it, but this is true: I am spoiled and act like it sometimes. I sit here on my well cushioned behind, in my nice house, wearing clean clothes, looking forward to a meal of my choice, and I have the NERVE to mope? Get a grip girl!

Yes, whining (opps, I meant writing) was a bit therapeutic, but in a very bratty way. This point was punctuated like slap upside the head shortly after posting. I flipped on the History channel and watched a show on PBS “Surviving the Dust Bowl”. I watched the documentary and just kept thinking “Oh my gosh! This is so, so horrible!” Of course, I had learned about this era in school at some point. However to review this footage with adult eyes and being able to comprehend the horror and ramifications much more thoroughly, boggles my mind now. I watched the scenes of the sun scorched land spewing swirls of dust so thick it caused midnight at noon.


Known as the Black Lizard, thick clouds of dirt rolled towards the houses as people and animals scrambled for cover. Everything was dirty and dry. Even in the shelter of their wooden houses, people would struggle to breath. Food was scarce. Water was even harder to find. Yet many of these people lived through this for a decade. Can you imagine living like this for ten years?

Making matters far worse, the depression was in full swing. There was no place to turn. Yes, there was the migration west, but those migrants met with more hardship and poverty. I look at this photo by Lange of this poor, little “Ghost Child”.
How dare I complain about anything? Shame on me!


Child living in Oklahoma City shack town. August 1936.
Farm Security Administration photograph by Dorothea Lange

10 comments:

Tracy said...

Sheree, Whenever I find myself feeling sorry for myself, I think of the book, The Worst Hard Times. It reminds me that our lives today are not even remotely as bad as they were during the depression/dust bowl and probably won't ever be.

I always manage to buck up and get over my ridiculous problems at that point. Learning from history is something we don't do so much anymore, but should.

self taught artist said...

yeah i watched that too, and did you notice how WONDERFULLY cool those old people were that were kids back then?
i think artists are a bit selfish. not all, and not necessarily in a bad way, maybe it is a byproduct of some sort. maybe you have to be to make art. maybe we are just more like children. more sensitive...more vivid in our experiences? more raw?

Sheree Rensel said...

Tracy,
You are a smart girl! I have heard of that book. I might just check into it. You are right. We do need to look at history and look around us NOW. We all have to realize, if you are reading this blog right now, you are most likely "richer" or more fortunate than at least 75% of the world population! I am not sure of the actual statistics. However I know for sure, when we (Americans) moan about wanting to be RICH, we don't realize we are RICH by world standards. If we put our wealth in historical perspective, it is even more dramatic.
Thanks for your input!!
:-)

Sheree Rensel said...

Paula,
YES YES YES!! I was thinking about those people being interviewed too. I really noticed how they all told such a great story, yet they all managed to smile sometime in the interview. They should be proud! They lived through it!

I am not sure this selfishness is an ARTIST thing. I think it is a people thing. The reason I say this is because I have had recent encounters with people of all walks of life via YouTube. These people are not artists; nor do they know I am an artist. Yet, I have noticed that many are just as self absorbed, self centered, and hold a feeling of entitlement as any artist I have met. I think it is a sign of our times and our society.
Sheree

self taught artist said...

perhaps you are right. guess i have been thinking about how i feel more selfish now ~ being an artist~ than when i was a massage therapist. i dont feel like i give to others now. but i feel more enriched not giving all my energy away.

dryadart said...

I have been reading change your thoughts, change your mind (i think that's what its called, or something like that, its upstairs and I am too tired to go check the title) and I am trying to be more positive and whine less, I can't say it's going terribly well... I think I have a very negative, worry bound mind. But in my gratitude diary I try to remind myself of plenty not lack... I wish I were better at saying no so I had some of me left over for me sometimes

JafaBrit's Art said...

Our pains/woes in life are always relative, some always have or had it worse off and some always have or had it better off. I don't think it wrong to confront issues/complaints no matter how petty if it leads to reflection/,reassessment and then a new appreciation.

I agree with you sheree in regards to selfishness not being unique to one group.

dryadart said...

the book is called change your thoughts, change your life, its a interpretation of the Tao..., sorry absolutely brain dead when posting last night...

Mary Buek said...

About 20 years ago we lived in a 125-year-old house in western Kansas. I could not keep the place clean. The owner told me that it was the result of dust still in the inner workings of the house from the dust bowl days. "The Worst Hard Time" was amazing and tragic. Unfortunately, it seems we may be headed in that direction again unless we figure out how to stop this whole economic mess. Maybe we'll do it next Tuesday?

Sheree Rensel said...

Mary,
I believe you about the dust still being in the fabric of an old Kansas house. I also believe you are correct in saying we might be headed in the same direction now. I thought the same thing when I watched the PBS documentary. I thought "Gee, this doesn't seem so far fetched at the moment. Don't we ever learn from history?" Even though the dust bowl decade was partially natural, it was helped along by human decisions and politics. The resulting economic disaster was cause through the same "people forces".
Gosh, next Tuesday. I am hoping, hoping, hoping.