EMILY IS 150

statue on Granville Ave., Vancouver

Emily Carr was born 150 years ago on 13 December. Her legacy will be discussed in some of the media. Prominent, no doubt, will be the present price of her paintings. Her life was not easily understood by her contemporaries. Today’s social media audience will find her attitude toward life as being too familiar to current sensibilities to be considered an “icon”. Jealous influencers will dismiss her.

For creative folks, Emily was a writer as well as an artist. To the 3-4 people who read this Writers Blog, which part of her life sticks out?

Emily’s Wikipedia entry comments about her writing: “Some of these books are autobiographical and reveal Carr as an accomplished writer. Criticisms have been made of her dramatized short stories as many readers expect them to be historically accurate.”

After 150 years, Emily’s status as an “icon” will be dusted off, briefly displayed in public by those who wish to show their erudition, then forgotten again until another milestone comes along. Such is the lot of those who, in general, succumb to the urge to be creative.

It seems that public accreditation of creativity requires more than the achievement of a published manuscript or displayed canvas. A significant monetary value must be assigned. Influencers must spin their digital webs for some period of time beyond 12 seconds. Gatekeepers at the boundary between the consuming public and their corporate purveyors of that which is called “entertainment” must accept the product as being saleable.

With that weight of those public approbation factors, little old creativity matters for naught.

I do not believe that, despite being so far ahead of her time, Emily would be comfortable in 2021.

But her painted masks would be awesome!

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