Our latest song “Now Is The Time, Piper Perish” is based on our interview with author Kayla Cagan about her book, Piper Perish. We asked Kayla to tell us how she feels about the song and how it relates to the message of her book!
by Kayla Cagan
Oh my gosh! This song brings up so many of the things I think in my head on a daily basis. I want to encourage artists, makers, and creators (and myself!) – to express ourselves and make the things that we want to see in the world and that the world needs to see; to be brave enough to make the things that might scare us, or that we think we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to tackle.
It’s so easy to doubt ourselves out of creation because MAKING IS HARD sometimes and who doesn’t want an excuse to quit occasionally? We can tell ourselves it’s not important, we can tell ourselves there are bigger problems at hand (and there definitely are, but there is also room for creation!), we can tell ourselves it’s all a waste of time because one day we’re all going to slip into the ocean, never to be heard of again.
But parts of the act of creating can also be playful and fun and exhilarating and most importantly, life affirming, for ourselves and our audiences. In a time when we are heavy with the recognition and reckoning of wars, famines, inequalities, poverty, crime, environmental destruction, and disease, life affirming actions through art are not just important, but vital. We own our fears but we must also gather our fearlessness and faith to keep going. Can a piece of art save the world? Maybe. Can it reflect it, poke at it, beautify it, and make us pause? Certainly. And if we pause long enough to see and hear what’s going on around us, we can make different decisions, better mistakes, leave a better footprint for us all. We can empathize with others and examine ourselves more closely. So we have to shake the fear and hate and guilt and shame out of ourselves. We have to remind ourselves that creators gonna create – and we have every right to do so.
I truly believe the effects of art are contagious. Energy breeds energy, work breeds work. The more you do, the more you will do. The more people see or hear or taste what you make, the more you move them or change them or help them do their work. The transfer of energy isn’t visible, but it’s obvious as creations appear next to each other. I wrote a book. You guys wrote a song. See how that works?
Art is an energy, just like water or solar or nuclear. So to create is to change and to be able to change anything is a power. I believe creating art is a power for good, and it’s one of my favorite parts about being a human. If you are drawn (pun intended!) to make something: music, poetry, art, dance, crafts – do it! Don’t back away from it. We should never back away from bringing beauty to this world. We all need it. I need to see what you make. I need to be lifted up by you. Example: a friend of ours, Brandi, shares her watercolors and urban sketches online. She has no idea how much she inspires me each time I see one, whether they are in process, finished, or somewhere in-between. Her creative work has a very positive effect on my well being and general outlook. She’s not responsible for me, but because she shows up for her art, she has unknowingly shared her energy with me and changed my mood. Her art is my happiness boost. Sometimes that’s enough to help get me through a tough day.
When you deprive yourself of making art, you deprive all of us of your understanding and our understandings of the world. Art can bring enlightenment and education and provocation and encouragement. Art is communication. Art is responsibility. As Voltaire (maybe) and Uncle Ben Parker (definitely) once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” I remember that when I write. And I hope that young creators and emerging artists will remember that too when they are looking for a reason to continue, a boost for their morale, or when they are simply lost and scared and have something inside of them that yearns to be made and they aren’t sure how to make it or why they should do it or where to start. Listen to this song or read my book (or another one) or get up and dance. Pump yourself up. Believe in yourself and your art.
We’re right here and we’re ready for you.
You can listen to my interview with Kayla, and hear the song we wrote about this, on our podcast, “You Should Write A Song About That!” And check out Kayla’s work and new book on Amazon, from Chronicle books, or at KaylaCagan.com!