top of page

Top Gun Maverick versus Art Therapy (Part Two in the AI Series)

I keep watching and rewatching the newest Top Gun movie that came out in 2022.

Some of the draw for me is pure nostalgia. The new movie reminds me of the old movie and of my teenaged years when I was all in. I had a Walkman and ran around Driftwood Point to the sound track.

"Highway to the Danger Zone" was excellent for the twilight jogs that used to upset my parents so much. ("You should at least wear a reflective jacket!")

I had wanted to be a fighter pilot before watching that movie but as much as I liked the action, I realized I'd never be comfortable in war machines. Also, my eyesight is terrible and my nerves could not have withstood all that machismo.

The first Top Gun helped me figure out what not to do with my life which was helpful in addition to entertaining me and giving me running motivation.

Some of the draw to the 2022 version was the action movie plot with its conflict and tension that kept me wrapped up in what was happening even though I've watched it multiple times.

When rewatching scenes again while sick this week, I realized that the film's beauty was yet another draw. The cinematography is incredible. It was good in the first film, too, but in the second one I saw gorgeous moving images of people, planes, and places, one after another. The moviemakers focus in on one person in a scene and then in on the next, drawing my eyes and thoughts to flow with the story.

I read in the notes about the film that the makers had to get special accommodations from the military so that they could film when the light was exactly right on the aircraft carrier. Their efforts pay off. The lighting is incredible with light and shadows in all the right places. The actors are gorgeous not only because of their faces but because of how the movie shows them to us.

And then the music. I was absolutely pulled into the music. I rarely notice this on the first time through a film. It's only after repeatedly seeing scenes that I am aware of the emotional effect those sounds have on me as a viewer and how the score leads me in the direction the filmmakers want me to go with the story.

You can see and hear all of these things—especially the beauty and the music in the brief trailer here.

As a viewer and consumer, I appreciate all of this in many works of art, old and new. Art in all of its forms matters to us when we see the product. When it touches me, I benefit. I feel soothed when I am sick. I remember good moments in my life. I may be inspired to buy, to learn, to grow. When the art is especially moving or relevant to me, I sort through my own difficulties when I look at the product of someone else's work. (It sounds funny now but I really did need help letting go of the fighter pilot idea.)

Thinking about how I view art as a consumer rather than a creator has helped me to think more deeply about how art affects me as a creator. This is especially important, I believe, when it comes to the questions around AI.

crying baby on a parent's shoulder

I first discovered the outright power of making art to heal when my son was an infant and doing the thing the infants do so very well—depriving their mothers of sleep and self care beyond what humans can manage. At the same time, my father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

I had to make big changes with my family in order to get the rest I needed before I could care for or be with anyone. I took time off from work and kept sending my son to daycare so I could have time alone at home for a week.

I thought I might sleep. I was too sleep-deprived to sleep without medication that I did not want to take that during the day.

I thought I might clean the house. No part of me was able to plug in a vacuum cleaner.

The only thing I found I could do—the only thing that soothed me—was to work on collages from an online class I was taking with Melody Ross.

I cut out magazines, I drew images, and I wrote words. I put down all the terrible sleep-deprived thoughts that were in my head with colored pens and answered them with kinder words in a different color. I pasted with Mod Podge, a kind of clear crafting glue with a smell that now automatically makes me feel more at ease after those hours with my collages.

collage image of page from art journal with "I Choose to go where the PEACE is" on a green background with Mod Podge and beads

I wrote about my feelings of inadequacy as a mother and about the pain of losing Dad. I painted over some of the most painful words as another way of releasing them.

journal page with handwritten words about loss and type written words of encouragement

While my work felt beautiful to me as I made it, I was not especially concerned with the end product. It was the effort of creating that held the beauty and the healing for me.

I've done similar things with music. While listening can bring me a great deal of joy and peace, playing music alone or with others heals me. And it heals me at supersonic speed like Maverick in the opening scenes.

Although I'm so grateful to have art around me and am grateful to those who create it—however they create it—there is something about creating it myself that reaches places inside me and releases emotion that watching it cannot.

Since then, I've noticed that I'm not alone in this. Art therapy and music therapy are offered now for cancer patients along with radiation and chemotherapy. My sister texted me about this and how much it meant to her.

screenshot of text message that reads "Art therapy! I get art therapy through oncology department" and a smile emoji

And I would say that yoga is a part of that bigger creative healing picture. It's a space where we make shapes with our bodies not unlike dancing or other kinesthetic expressions.

I sincerely believe that creation is a human activity that we all need from time to time. I don't think that AI or any other tool can take this away from us as long as we remember that the act of making things matters every bit as much as the act of viewing and consuming them. Perhaps more.

Final Notes on an Already-Too-Long Post:

I struggled to write this 'part two' of my AI series. I started and stopped, cut and reworked more than I usually do. Maybe you can tell with the way it swings wildly from Top Gun to the baby blues.

I think I'll end the series for now and move onto more adventure posts next. I'm off to take a few online classes this week in order to create video content using ChatGPT and other tools. AI is definitely not going away for me. I'll need to dive into it before I have more to say.

I'm going to give ChatGPT the last word here by pasting in what it wrote for a post about the pros and cons of itself. AI thought of both negatives and positives that I hadn't.

But asking it to make this post didn't heal me like all the cutting, pasting, and redoing that I did above. And it didn't think of therapy as a reason to create.

So there's that.

Anyway, here is what AI created about itself. You may notice it's rather stiff but I could dive in and ask to lighten up. I just didn't. (I feel like I should confess that to you so you know that AI has a range of output and that we can create with the use of AI by asking it to make adjustments to itself.)

I hope you make something today. Anything. I bet you need to as much as I do.


image of a screen that reads "Introducing ChatGPT Plus"

Title: The Power and Challenges of Using ChatGPT: Exploring the Pros and Cons for Writers and the Human Experience in an AI-Driven World


Artificial Intelligence has made remarkable advancements in recent years, revolutionizing various aspects of our lives. One such innovation is ChatGPT, a powerful language model developed by OpenAI. ChatGPT provides writers with a unique tool to enhance their creativity and productivity. However, it also raises important questions about the implications of relying on AI for human communication and creativity. In this blog post, we will delve into the pros and cons of using ChatGPT for writers and explore the impact it has on the human experience in this new era of AI.

Pros for Writers

  1. Enhanced Creativity: ChatGPT acts as a creative collaborator, offering writers a vast pool of knowledge, ideas, and inspiration. It can generate unique storylines, suggest character developments, and even help overcome writer's block. By leveraging the power of AI, writers can tap into new realms of creativity and explore uncharted territories.

  2. Improved Productivity: Writing can be a time-consuming process, requiring extensive research and refining. ChatGPT streamlines this process by providing instant access to information, eliminating the need for extensive manual research. It can offer suggestions, grammar corrections, and help writers maintain consistency throughout their work, enabling them to produce high-quality content more efficiently.

  3. Language Enhancement: ChatGPT can serve as a valuable tool for language learners and non-native speakers. It helps writers improve their grammar, vocabulary, and overall language proficiency. The model can suggest alternative phrasing and provide real-time feedback, thereby enhancing the linguistic skills of the user.

Cons for Writers

  1. Over-reliance and Lack of Originality: While ChatGPT can assist with generating ideas, it runs the risk of stifling a writer's individuality and creativity. Over-reliance on AI-generated content may lead to a loss of personal style and originality, as the output might tend to replicate patterns or ideas from the vast corpus of existing texts. It is crucial for writers to maintain a balance and ensure their voice remains authentic.

  2. Ethical Concerns: AI language models like ChatGPT can inadvertently perpetuate biases present in the data they were trained on. Writers must be cautious not to unknowingly promote discriminatory content or reinforce existing stereotypes. Human oversight and responsible use of AI tools are essential to mitigate these ethical concerns and ensure fairness in the content produced.

Impact on the Human Experience

  1. Human-Machine Collaboration: The rise of AI, exemplified by tools like ChatGPT, enables a new paradigm of human-machine collaboration. Instead of viewing AI as a replacement, we can see it as a complementary partner that enhances our capabilities. By leveraging AI tools responsibly, writers can merge the power of human creativity and intuition with the efficiency and knowledge of AI, ultimately creating more sophisticated and engaging content.

  2. Evolving Roles and Skills: The advent of AI in writing prompts a reevaluation of traditional roles. As AI automates certain tasks, writers may need to adapt and focus on higher-level skills, such as storytelling, critical thinking, and emotional connection with readers. Embracing AI tools allows writers to evolve and embrace new opportunities for growth, while also emphasizing the unique qualities that make us human.

  3. Ethical Responsibility: The integration of AI in creative processes emphasizes the need for ethical considerations and responsible use. Writers must be mindful of the ethical implications of their work, ensuring that AI assistance does not compromise the integrity of their content. Responsible use of AI tools requires human judgment, critical evaluation, and a commitment to creating inclusive and unbiased narratives.


The use of ChatGPT and similar AI language models presents both opportunities and challenges for writers and the human.


bottom of page