Chills up your spine! Goose bumps! Tingly innards! Tears--of joy, sadness, recognition, sympathy, laughter! Let's just say, you know it, and your body surely does, when you experience art that deeply inspires you.
This creation of someone's, this tune, poem, dance, painting, cake, photo, transports you to another realm. It takes your soul on an adventure. How cool is that? Miraculous, actually.
So, I am in my robe, sitting on the radiator. Intimidated, I'm trying to navigate the new portable "sound system," i.e. speaker box for my iPod, that I'll be using to teach dance class tomorrow night to some beautiful dancers. My technology-challenged self is having a bitty pity party (even though the speakers are quite accessible).
Suddenly, VAVOOM! I hit play on a piece of music I haven't listened to in the years since I misplaced my iPod. The familiar huge RUSH of emotion floods over and through me as the unabashedly romantic strains of "Your Hands Are Cold" (Jean-Yves Thibaudet) swamps the room.
I'm transfixed and galvanized all at once. I want both to sit there, goose bumped, and lap up every note, and also get up and fling myself around the room in an untrammeled romancedance.
Yahoo! Mindblowing art: the only way to fly.
Once I move on to Pat Metheny's anthemic tunes like "We Live Here," I just have to write something about the thrill of art. I sit down to ask about what makes it keenly exciting and start to "think" and "analyze," and sure that's fine, too. But I think I'll leave that thinner pursuit to the theorists.
Because I realize for me, the proof is in the pudding of body and soul. Maybe that's how I need to approach the question. Does the art bring me tinglingly alive? That's the art I yearn to create. As a diehard romantic, I suppose I'm drawn to expansiveness, lushness, depth of emotion, vividness, and yes, humor--the hardest one to do well.
I know it's different for each of us. What about you?