DIANE: What about poetry and goodness?
CARYN: Poetry and poetic language – which I would extend to memoir, novels and short stories, spoken word and song writing, just everything we can do with language — it’s all about, at its best, taking life and encapsulating it, and passing it on to us in a way that we can see more who we are and how we live. Even speculative fiction shows you a lot about how you live or about how people could live or what people could become. I think the arts serve as a mirror of where we are, but also of a larger vision of where we could be and also historically where we have been. For people trying to cultivate goodness in their lives I don’t think they can do better than to turn to the arts because you’re going to see things there. You can hear it in song, you can see it in painting, you can listen to it in a spoken word performance.
CARYN: Creating it, looking at it, doing it. You can see in all these things — what’s the word I want? — you can see your reflection. You can also see where you might be limiting yourself, where you might go instead, through the use of writing, through imagery and rhythm. Imagery speaks to our five senses: smell, taste, touch and so on. Rhythm — just the sounds words make when they’re put together — kind of jars us out of that thick layer of stories and myths that I talked about earlier. We can kind of lift it up and look underneath it. You can use that as pathway to connect to who you are.
Pictures: Above: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg; below: Diane Silver