Sunday, March 08, 2009

Turning to Art

image I don’t normally “escape” into my stories or music. I don’t “pour my feelings” about some life event into them. When bad things happen to me, I don’t “use it.”

I am not, in any way, saying this is a good thing.

It’s just odd.

I have one adult student who totally uses piano to balance her life, to vent her frustrations and pain. Every time something bad happens, she uses it.

I really admire that. 

In the classical music world, there are various… ethics of performing, I guess you’d say. One school of thought (not one I abide by), for example, focuses on not distracting from the music. The performer is showcasing the music, and wants to stay out of the way, not draw attention to himself, not move and sway or what have you.

imageThe musician is really only a channel for the music. 

I don’t agree with that school of thought, but I wonder if some of that has seeped into me. When I write or play, I set the rest of the world out of reach. I don’t draw on it. I try to leave it behind so I can focus on the art at hand.

The story and the music are not about me; it’s about them. I usually aim to get out of the way.

The problem with that is if I’m “not in the way,” then I don’t have a voice.

Of course, we have to draw on our experiences and our feelings to write what they feel like, but I think I do most of this subconsciously. I do see trends in my books, but again, these happen subconsciously.

image This week, though, I began questioning this. Why shouldn’t I take the feelings I’m feeling now and find a way to pour them into my stories? Why shouldn’t I look forward to writing as an escape from this world? Why shouldn’t I desire and crave to escape this world? Why shouldn’t I try and find comfort in my fictional realm?

Is art a balance between passion and craft, or a struggle?

I’m just wondering. What do you think?

30 bonus scribbles:

Lisa 3/08/2009 03:46:00 PM  

I think it's a passion when one creates (music, painting, writing, poetry) for the love/the need to express, and when it becomes a way to make money THEN it crosses over into being a struggle where you must balance often what you really want to do while guessing what others might be willing to buy.

It's a lovely day to relax today!(I'm in my sunroom and my Little Amelia is admiring the birds. She's so cute.)

Edie 3/08/2009 04:06:00 PM  

Spy, if I were writing a biography or a memoir, I could pour my feelings in it. I might base a character on something I'm going through if my feelings weren't so changable -- sad one day and happy the next (though I'm usually even-tempered).

I know writers who had great losses in life and or were going through unhappy times, but were contracted to write a book. When they wrote, they kept their feelings out of the pages.

I draw on my sad or happy feelings, but I'm not venting in my fiction. Like you said, the story isn't about us, "it's about them."

Susan Helene Gottfried 3/08/2009 05:00:00 PM  

Uhm, sorry. You were saying something about the Apocalyptica dude?

I, ummm, got distracted there for a second...

*wanders off, humming Burn*

Robin 3/08/2009 06:19:00 PM  

I don't really pore emotion into my writing, but I do use it to gain perspective. A lot of times I write about things that were sort of upsetting at the time, but when I finish writing about them, I crack up at the silliness of it all.

Stewart Sternberg 3/08/2009 06:28:00 PM  

I completely use my creativity to deal with life. I remember being in high school, hating a geometry teacher, and writing all manner of horrific things about her. Thank god this was before the days of Columbine.

When I was divorced, and even when I was married I would write bits or eroticism for myself. I discovered writing eroticism for onesself is never as good as reading something someone else has written, or better yet, something someone has written for's sort of like masturbation, it's good, but it isn't sex.

spyscribbler 3/08/2009 07:05:00 PM  

Aw, Lisa, your Amelia looks a little similar to my Dixie! My Dixie is going on 5 years old, and she STILL plays like a kitten. She drags one of her toys around like a security blanket. :-)

spyscribbler 3/08/2009 07:08:00 PM  

I feel like you, Edie. My feelings are so darned changeable, just like you mentioned! However could you match a cohesive story to that, LOL?

I have been trying to motivate myself to write by telling myself it's a chance to escape from this world, LOL. It's working!

spyscribbler 3/08/2009 07:08:00 PM  

LOL, Susan! That's Jacqueline du Pre! I need to order some of the Apocalyptica music, for sure!

spyscribbler 3/08/2009 07:12:00 PM  

I envy you your sense of humor, Robin! You know, last week I wrote an undeliverable email to someone that's driving me mad, and it felt SO good. Maybe didn't make me laugh, but it stop me from repeating what I want to say to her over and over in my mind, LOL!

spyscribbler 3/08/2009 07:17:00 PM  

Stewart, I have to confess that when I write eroticism, I think about seducing someone else. :-)

I think I need to use my creativity to deal with a life a little more.

Lauren 3/08/2009 11:10:00 PM  

I think that art is a balance between craft and life. Art is a way to express life and if you make it only about craft then there is nothing to express.

spyscribbler 3/08/2009 11:33:00 PM  

Wow, Lauren, that's perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Charles Gramlich 3/08/2009 11:44:00 PM  

I think I started writing in large part for just that reason, to express my anger and hurt. That's no longer true these days, but it was definitely there at the start.

Erica Orloff 3/09/2009 07:52:00 AM  

Hi Spy:
I think I bring bits and pieces of myself to the work. I am passionate ABOUT my work, and somewhere in there a story emerges.


colbymarshall 3/09/2009 11:09:00 AM  

I think it's ALL of those things! I guess you have to have passion, but I know I struggle sometimes!

Bevie 3/09/2009 12:08:00 PM  

Writing is where I want to be. (That's why it gets distrubing when a story calls for something disturbing. [grin])

I never consciously write about real events in a fictional story. I let the Muses handle that.

I'm more selfish with my erotica. Ultimately, it's about me being seduced. But I'll agree with Stewart - at least in part (not sure I want to be connected with the "M" thing - that what others write is far more exciting.

LaDonna 3/09/2009 05:35:00 PM  

Spy, I'm an emotional writer so I think it would be impossible to look through the looking glass and not jump inside too. lol. That said, my characters are separate from me and enter my creativity via the senses. It's how I roll! lol.

And what awesome questions you asked too. Art is a balance in my world. And escaping into stories is a perk imo, part of my process.

Rick 3/09/2009 08:41:00 PM  

Hello, Spy! Is it possible that moving into our stories and/or music should be occuring naturally for a writer or a musician? That it might occur naturally instead of a matter of technique or subconscious happenstance? The reason I wonder about the word subconscious is because it seems to distance us from what is happening.

For example, a similar phenomena occurs naturally most every night for most every person around the world- when we dream. And how different is our dream world from the interiorization that occurs when we write our stories? Our dreams could be classed as subconscious creations, but I wonder if carrying our feelings into our dreams and creative endeavors is really an expression of our nature as creators.

There are people that approach their dreams in an artificial way- trying to use them to work out complicated emotional problems with psychological techniques such as repeating their "dream mission" just before entering the hypnogagic state. That may be a bit artificial,too.

So what I'm wondering is whether it might be okay for you to carry your feelings into your story simply because your feelings should naturally follow your heart. What do you think?

Delightfully thought-provoking posting, by the way.

G 3/09/2009 08:52:00 PM  

Definitely emotional.

When I started, I was going through some serious turbulence in my life.

The output was phenominal.

Two years later, I'm trying to reharness that turbulence again, without the baggage that came with it.

It's a work in progress, but that turbulence is now a controlled drip that is doing wonders for my writing.

Caryn Caldwell 3/09/2009 10:45:00 PM  

I don't know. In so many ways I do just get out of the way, writing what I think should happen, what I think my characters should do next and what I think should happen as a result. But then sometimes something in me takes over and it flows out of me. Those are the parts I always end up liking best when I read them later.

Melanie Avila 3/10/2009 04:06:00 PM  

I totally use my personal emotions in my stories. I haven't used personal stories (at least not in my novels) but I draw upon how I felt at similar times in my life. I say go for it. :)

spyscribbler 3/10/2009 04:11:00 PM  

Charles, that's fascinating to me. I wish I had found writing earlier.

I do often write out of loneliness, though.

spyscribbler 3/10/2009 04:13:00 PM  

LOL, Erica... I like what you say about "somewhere in there." Every time I look at my process and make a statement, it's usually not true. Not that it's a lie, but... nailing down my process is like trying to hit a moving target that's in camouflage!

spyscribbler 3/10/2009 04:13:00 PM  

Colby, me too! Me too! I struggle a lot with myself, LOL!

spyscribbler 3/10/2009 04:15:00 PM  

Bevie, that's fascinating. I generally imagine seducing someone else when I'm writing erotica.

I once referred to a real event, but that's the closest I've ever come.

spyscribbler 3/10/2009 04:16:00 PM  

LaDonna, I've been seeing that as a perk more every day. Particularly when my life feels so dull and gray with Glenn gone! It's a comfort to slip into my story world.

spyscribbler 3/10/2009 04:20:00 PM  

Rick, that makes a lot of sense. I like what you say about slipping into it naturally as opposed to, for example, intentional dreaming.

My feelings, if they continue when I'm writing, jerk me out of my story world. I get what you say that they should follow, and it makes sense to me, but they also feel like they don't belong there. I slip into my character, and she doesn't have the same annoying people to deal with that I do, LOL!

I don't know, though. Must think on this.

spyscribbler 3/10/2009 04:21:00 PM  

G, I'm glad you're not going through emotional turmoil! I've never written out of emotional turmoil, but it would be interesting to see what came of it. I'm glad you're not having that life, though!

PS: Love how you call it a "controlled drip," LOL!

spyscribbler 3/10/2009 04:23:00 PM  

Caryn, I love the flow! It feels so good there. Everything unfolds naturally, and I can feel everything the character feels!

spyscribbler 3/10/2009 04:24:00 PM  

Melanie, I have to try that. You know, I sometimes wonder if I'm too chicken. I tend to try to escape from unpleasant feeling than purge them.