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Some of you are thinking, “If it were that easy to take an action, I wouldn’t be reading this book.” Those of us who get bogged down by fear before action are usually being sabotaged by an older enemy, shame. Shame is a controlling device. Shaming someone is an attempt to prevent the person from behaving in a way that embarrasses us.
Making a piece of art may feel a lot like telling a family secret. Secret telling, by its very nature, involves shame and fear. It asks the question “What will they think of me once they know this?” This is a frightening question, particularly if we have ever been made to feel ashamed for our curiosities and explorations-social, sexual, spiritual. “How dare you?” angry adults often rage at an innocent child who has stumbled onto a family secret. (How dare you open your mother’s jewelry box? How dare you open your father’s desk drawer? How dare you open the bedroom door? How dare you go down in the cellar, up in the attic, into some dark place where we hide those things we don’t want you to know?)
The act of making art exposes a society to itself . Art brings things to light. It illuminates us. It sheds light on our lingering darkness. It casts a beam into the heart of our own darkness and says, “See?”