by Nina Belen Robins

My mother believes in God because of creativity. Not mine, not hers, not anyone in specific, but because it births itself through us; through our keyboards, our pens, our paintbrushes, our chisels, our pianos, forcing itself through channels we cannot control.

I’ve been asked why my creativity chooses the topics it does, and I have no answer. Art and music know no logic. We create things we sometimes don’t want to, because if we don’t, we lie sleepless, tormented, while blank canvasses and blocks of stone and notebooks tear at our consciences, begging to be filled.

I don’t always believe in God, and I don’t believe in a benevolent God. My mother taught me that, too. For a hamburger, there is a cow’s death. For a promotion, another’s disappointment. While we have running water and electricity, others live without it.

But the voice; the tune; the statue breaking out, already in our minds, I have no answer to. Ugly, beautiful, for every work of art an artist has hundreds unseen by another’s eye. Creativity sparks success surrounded by flounder, and yet it chooses to speak, to sing, to appear.

There is a pulse which chooses unexpected minds—the deaf composer, the uneducated writer, the artist without a teacher. We see without eyes, hear without ears, write without knowledge.

I left religion when I was 12. Halfway through Bat Mitzvah training I exclaimed there could not be a God for all the misery. My father backed down; it is impossible to argue with a prepubescent bipolar tragedy. I do not believe in a benevolent God and I do not pray, but if I do not write poetry, I explode. If paintbrushes remain unused, artist fingers and hands will not be remembered. If stone remains whole, sculptors’ hearts cannot be seen.

My mother believes in God because without God there could be no symphonies. Because no brain alone has the capacity to hear orchestras in silence. I do not pray, I write. I will not admit in public that I do not know where it comes from. Though I dismissed faith in junior high, there is a force who did not give up on me.

How wonderful it is, that through all the horrors of the world, a force beyond our comprehension still loves us enough to birth creativity. And how wonderful, that no matter our background, our abilities, our situation, we are able to enjoy it.


NINA BELEN ROBINS is a three time national slam poet and author of the books of poems A Bed With My Name on It and Supermarket Diaries. She lives with her boyfriend and cats and works in the bakery department of a supermarket. Her life goals are normalizing mental illness and living childfree.


Photo by Nicola Preti