on the luxury of chocolate cake

tsusweetnami illustration by justin richel
tsuweetnami illustration by justin richel

let’s talk about chocolate cake.

i like chocolate cake a lot. like, more than i should. like i exercise to eat chocolate cake, i skimp on other meals to eat chocolate cake, i use philosophical mind games to justify the eating of chocolate cake.

i’m eating chocolate cake right now.

during the week, i behave myself: eat healthy, fruit for dessert, long walks with lola, much moderation. but on the weekends, i binge. and i’m okay with that. that regular, predictable but oh-so-joyous routine of binging on a decadent dessert makes life grand. chocolate cake – or ice cream, or cookies… – gives me a few moments of personal bliss. it’s not something i really ever deny myself at the right time.

is it a necessity? certainly not.

can i imagine my weekends without a bit of indulgence? absolutely not.

miniature cake pendant by sillychic
miniature cake pendant by sillychic

defining luxury

as a school child, we’re taught about the necessities of life. we need air, water, food, and shelter to live. put simply, cut off too long from any one of these things, we wither & die.

earlier this week, i asked: is art a luxury? and you replied with a variety of answers i could not have imagined!

one such comment pointed out that while art may not be something we require to live, it is necessary for the formation of culture, the thing that makes us human, makes us more than individual beings. so while things like cable tv, down comforters, and iphones (gah!) may be luxuries, art & chocolate cake art not. they makes us who we are and at the same time give us moments of personal clarity when we are more than the sum of our parts. art brings us joy and inspiration. so does chocolate cake.

cupcake push pins by bearduck
hostess cake push pins by bearduck

the luxury of creating

to me, what truly separates art & chocolate cake from the realm of luxury is our ability to create them ourselves. given a little time, a few simple materials, and a bit of inspiration, we can have art or chocolate cake whenever we’d like! while some people may specialize in the creation of these wonderful things, each of us has within us the power to create them.

because both chocolate cake & art are not only joys to consume but joys to produce, people who specialize in their creation are also very generous! at a dinner party, your host will not only cook you a delicious meal but will end that meal with a delightful dessert – free of charge, simply for the exchange of your company. artists are also exceptionally generous, consider jen’s feed your soul art project. awesome indie artists from all over the world contribute free pieces that you can print out and enjoy!

there is simply no reason to live without art!

the joy of consuming luxury

but i think what really gets me excited about living with art is our ability to bring art into our lives in so many practical ways. in my own personal definition, this is where art meets craft (but that’s another post, another day). one of the best parts of the indie craft movement is the way you can incorporate art, beauty, and design into your daily life by purchasing handmade goods: tea towels, office supplies, children’s toys, handbags, shoes, jewelry, magnets, plates, mugs, journals – you name it!

art is accessible in more ways than ever before!

luxury, by definition, is scarce, hard to get, expensive. art can be all of those things, true. but art is now also practical, abundant, available for any budget. we now have the luxury of consuming art with wild abandon. and i hope you take advantage of it!

i’m going to go have more chocolate cake.

14 thoughts on “on the luxury of chocolate cake

  1. I agree, in my response I talk about how Art is not a luxury because it is expensive, it is a luxury because you have to take the time to see it. Art is everywhere, all you have to do it look and appreciate :)

  2. Yes yes yes yes YES! You are SO right! Too crazy busy to take part in the “is art a luxury” conversation, you’ve summarized what I would have said if I’d had the time to sit and think for a bit! Art is NOT a luxury – we can make it ourselves, and the creation of it is an indicator of our evolution as a species! And what I began as a way to make a bit of money with my passion is now something I am proud to be a part of: making art part of people’s everyday lives….I’m helping us evolve as a species! (And, I love chocolate cake too!)

  3. TEA TOWELS!!! I so love tea towels but have none because of the lack of respect other hold for them in my house, so until I my son grows up, I will just have to admire them in the stores.

  4. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to think about this
    over the weekend. In short, it’s been a difficult week. I’ve felt discouraged and
    disconnected from my artistic self. How do I find my way? Well, reading something
    like this awakes the core of one to respond to something you feel passionate about.
    Art and chocolate cake are not luxuries, they are necessities. They both feed the soul and where would we be without our souls? There is no justification necessary, no proving, just enjoy the slice.
    Thanks for the smelling salts!

  5. Tara, thank you for formulating the creativity part so beautifully. That is what I have been struggling to say. The art is in each one of us, it just needs to find it’s way out. :) It is no luxury, it is a necessity. :)
    Thank you!

  6. Mmmm…. Chocolate cake….
    I think it’s easy to be intimidated by “ART”, but you’re so right Tara – art is about creativity, from cake to tea towels!
    This is my passion and why I started blogging. You don’t have to paint s spectacular canvas to be creative; creativity is about how you live your life. Bake a cake, admire nature on a walk, enjoy someone’s creation – these ‘luxuries’ make my life meaningful.

  7. tara, i was way behind on my scoutie girl reading and just came on this post. it struck a chord with me, and i thought you might be interested too: one of my theatre profs. did a lot of his research on the creation of theatre in internment camps. it’s not just luxury. it is vital!

  8. Hi Tara,
    My friend sent me this link today! an entire year after you wrote this. earlier I posted an article on my blog just about this. I concluded that art is not a luxury but a necessity! At least for me! others are still debating that they can live without it. but can they thrive. i doubt it. Here’s my blog post if you are interested. I really enjoyed yours! Wish I would have read yours first! :)
    http://itsalmostmonday.blogspot.com/2011/03/art-is-luxury-wtf.html

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