Art has helped me survive, but I do not know that I myself, survive within it. The world is hostile to those who wish to dedicate their lives to creation.

Cream Scene’s Charlie Cole is fighting back…

Writing & Art by Charlie Cole


Art is the best ammo we’ve got. It’s also the most humanistic if one wants to prioritize actual life. Knives and guns may draw blood, but art refills the coffers of our veins. Grand overtures aside, on a personal level, it is the very thing that helps me get up in the morning and soothes me to sleep. Art has helped me survive, but I do not know that I myself, survive within it. The world is hostile to those who wish to dedicate their lives to creation. I wonder why that is. Has destruction become the default or is it simply easier to stomp a fire out than to spark it?

Never have I been content with my place in the world, and sometimes I prefer that, but going against the grain can turn into going against yourself. Rather, going against what is needed to get by. The fact of the matter is I cannot remain housed, fed, or clothed if I dropped everything and just wrote, photographed, painted, or any of the other things that truly sustain my heart. This is the suffocation of capitalism. A game we are all forced to play because the consequences are too dire otherwise. 

Don’t create, consume. Don’t play, produce. Don’t explore, earn.

I don’t care about throwing a lavish wedding, attaining a fancy job title, or even having kids. Art is what gives me purpose and what matters to me, but it is also the thing that hurts me. Such notions are deemed childish and supposed to be conditioned out of us in a society and school system that would rather mold us into worker bees than critical thinkers. My imagination and creativity have never left me, and for that, I am thankful – even if it makes me resentful at times. This thing I love does not love me back, nor am I in an environment where it’s encouraged; I’m in a world that constantly undervalues it if not trying to snuff it out completely.

How do I survive in this clusterfuck inside of a maelstrom wrapped in a tight bow of oppression? I don’t know, which is a pretty anticlimactic answer, but it’s the truth. Baby steps paved through grasps of joy. Doing things more because I love them and less because they’ll line my pockets feels like an act of rebellion, however small. That is motivation, even if it’s just for another second. The tether I’m on is more and more frayed these days, but the patchwork of its threads shows a history of fast fingers holding on, and the only way I know how to do that is through art.

Long after the weapons are laid upon the ground, and we cease for a moment from killing each other, art will be there to pick the world back up, just as it has done for me countless times before. Art has always been our greatest ammo and I want you to take your best shot.  

About the Author & Artist

macro photography of water dew of glass

Charlie Cole is the product of a town no one has ever heard of which, of course, means she gravitated toward creating stories to match her dreams of escape. When she is not writing she can be found vomiting out pop culture diatribes and trying to make friends with the bats in the belfry of her mind. Proud advocate for mental health, queer identity, and neurodivergency.

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