Dear Cinnamon: Yes, Art Is Work

Dear Cinnamon is a new monthly column based on the idea that all of life's questions can be answered by art, because, after all, art is the spice of life. To submit your own anonymous questions, fill out this form

Dear Cinnamon, What might you suggest for a creative who has put their pursuits on hold, feeling overwhelmed by the practical challenges of modern life, ie. money, work etc. We often hear about 30 under 30s but what about those a bit older who still seek to pursue their art but feel the moment has passed them by?

You often hear, Americans live to work, Europeans work to live. But there was a shift in culture during the COVID-19 pandemic and Mark Larson’s new book Working in the 21st Century: An Oral History of American Work in a Time of Social and Economic Transformation (Agate, 2024) documents those shifts and the new place that work holds in our lives. There is an entire section of this book dedicated to the “pursuit of happiness” in our work lives. I suggest you immediately flip to page 298 for Double Duty and page 318 for The Work of Art. And then of course go back, be inspired and comforted by the fact that you are not the only one trying to find your way. Even post 30 we are allowed to still be figuring it out and trying new things, even scary, unpredictable things like pursuing art as a career or at least a formidable force in our lives.

Illustration by Mat Huftalen.

Dear Cinnamon, My entire life I have wanted to reinvent myself, be bolder, braver, and unique. Is it possible to become new at my ripe age of 56, or am I too stuck in my old habits to be my dream self?

Buy an outfit you coveted but thought people would laugh at, dye your hair hot pink, and go see Rough House’s Nasty Brutish and Short on May 6 at Links Hall. It’s puppets, but adult and filled with sass and raunch and hilarity. You will be catapulted from your usual Monday evening routine of watching whatever Bachelor franchise show is on with a cup of chamomile. It will make you think, did I just become hip and cool—and the answer is yes. Do something new next Monday too and see what kinds of crazy new things your life can hold. Life is too short to be stuck in a box of your own creation. 

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Caroline Huftalen

Caroline L. Huftalen is the food editor at Third Coast Review and columnist behind Dear Cinnamon. Her reviews and interviews can also be seen on Huftalen is the founder of Survivors Project, Inc. which raises awareness for domestic violence by sharing stories of survival. A graduate of the University at Buffalo and the Savannah College of Art of Design. Huftalen lives in Chicago with her family and is currently writing a novel.