Art Saves Lives

An essay series curated by Seema Reza & edited by Ben Weakley.

Introduction by Seema Reza

I begin writing workshops with new groups of people by saying “Writing has saved my life. It continues to save my life on a regular basis.” I say it because it’s true. I say it because the best way to help people feel comfortable about being vulnerable is by modeling it. And mostly, I say it because it calms my own nerves to admit right up front that I am still working on saving my own life. It reminds me that this work, this moment, the act of writing is sacred. The stakes are high.

In the space after I say it, the room leans in. People who have been stifled by the pressure to pretend they are perfect are able to relax into the hard work at hand. People who are skeptical that someone like me, who gets to sit at the head of the table, could possibly get it trust me a little bit more.

I hope that this series of essays will give the writers of each piece the opportunity to reflect on the sacred act of art making and allow readers to feel seen and safe to reach further inside of themselves in their own art making practice.

Art Saves Lives essays are listed below in order from the most recent to the oldest post.

Art Saves Lives: Writing as Proof by Susanna Sonnenberg

Art Saves Lives: Writing as Proof by Susanna Sonnenberg

I know I’m crazy. I try to align events with my body’s tension but can’t remember properly, my racing heart or late-night brain awake with calculations for escape. What if I just walked out, took my body with me? I could wait until my mother and sister are asleep and...

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