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The Art We Get

As I was watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off with my family, when they went into The Art Institute of Chicago I became incredibly nostalgic. I could see myself standing in every shot. I got the feeling you get when someone reminds you that you haven't eaten in a while. Only then do you remember how hungry you are.

I realized that I'm hungry to walk down those corridors, stopping at each painting, marveling at each statue, looking at the entire room, drinking in the colors. I crave the spontaneity of getting in my car and driving to a museum and exploring it on my own. In an art museum, I have all the space in the world to think. Each painting provides a different world to run into.

The routine is starting to get to me. I go to bed thinking that today was the same as yesterday, which was the same as the day before, and the day before that.

The next day I was sitting in my room, at my desk scrolling on Instagram before I dove back into my homework. I saw that one of my favorite artists, Julien Baker, was hosting a concert on her story. I quickly tuned in as she was setting up. She was in the attic of her house, sitting on a table, adjusting all the pedals and knobs before she started.

As I was sitting at my desk, her haunting voice pulling me in, I could've cried. Her music is so raw. I had a book open for class, the fourth edition of An Introduction to Discourse Analysis Theory and Method by James Paul Gee. As she sang I pretended to read it to feel like I was productive.

When Baker had finished one of the songs off her old album, she said as she tuned her guitar, "I'm so glad I have songs because then what else would I have to say. I am of no importance."

As I was skimming the book in front of me with the lengthy title and the futuristic cover, I breezed over some words that connected with what the artist had said. Gee wrote, "We use language to build things in the world, to engage in world-building, and to keep the social world going. It is as if you could build a building by simply speaking words."

I would interject and say that we build many buildings with our words. We build homes, and stores, and libraries, and gyms, and auditoriums, and stadiums, and concert halls, and schools, and hospitals. And that without these creations, we too are of no importance.

We get what we and those around us make. In times like these, it is easy to forget that we make art museums even with our words.

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