Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Travel Through the Arts

We have established some time ago that "travel" does not necessarily mean physical travel. One of the forms of travel that struck me while reading C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and through our class discussions of the novel, was the idea of travel through the arts. I use this as a broad term covering many different forms of creative arts including literature, theater, television, painting, drawing, even music. The scene in which the Lucy, Edmund, and Eustice are drawn into the painting in the bedroom is one of the most vivid and descriptive scenes in the novel. Here, the children literally travel into the painting to reach their secret country, Narnia. Lewis states, "Most of us, I suppose, have a secret country but for most of us it is only an imaginary country" (Lewis 7). Essentially, when we read a piece of literature, look at a painting, or listen to music, we are entering our own secret world. The arts make us feels things, make our minds wander, this is the whole point.

The first time I remember really traveling through literature was when I began reading the Harry Potter series. I was in third grade and I remember this being the first time I felt the power of reading. I was immediately transported to the magical world Rowling had created. This series became a major part of my life, as silly as it may sound, but I think it had that impact on a generation of children. The first book came out when I was in kindergarten, and the last when I was a freshman in high school. The last movie came out when I was a senior in high school. Essentially, a generation of kids grew up with these characters which is incredible. I remember midnight releases and premieres that were always packed with children dressed up as witches and wizards. The world "muggle" was actually put into the dictionary, as a result of the book's popularity. Eventually a theme park was built in universal studios so that fans were able to actually have the physical experience of Hogwarts like they're favorite characters. I remember crying at each and every death throughout the series as if it was a close personal friend. Each time I open one of those books, to this day, I feel as though I am traveling to another world. Literature has the ability to be a kind of escape, a secret world within your head.

Music is where I find my secret world. People often ask what kind of music I like and my response is always the same; I like it all. And this is true, I love different music for different occasions. For me, music also serve as memories. It can take me back so easily to times I want to remember and hold on to, as well as to times I have forgotten. I live and work on an island in the summer off the coast of Cape Cod that is very, very small, only a square mile. During the summer months the population is about 300 and during the winter it drops to only 30. It is a quirky little island mostly filled with families who have been summering there for generations. This is my happy place. I never cared for country music, however, it happens to be the only radio station we get on the island and I learned to love it simply because it was tied to that place. Now, during the bleak, cold winter months, when a country song comes on, I am immediately transported back to the island. I can smell the salt air and honeysuckle, feel my feet dancing on the hot wooden dock, and I am in my happy place.

In my opinion, any good form of art was created to make people feel something. And that emotion is a form of travel that is unique in that it has the ability to take us wherever we need to go, to our own secret country.

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