I have been an artist most of my life; I have painted pictures and created functional art in the form of racing bicycle frames.
The greatest gift my mother ever bestowed on me was that she encouraged me as a child to draw and paint pictures, and to engage in simple craft projects.
She would tell her friends how good I was with my hands, and she would show them what I had made.
She would do this in my presence and it left me with a feeling that there was nothing I couldn’t make with my hands, given the time and the resources.
I get high on creativity, high on the feeling of euphoria when I step back and look at what I have created. And like a junkie there came a time when the art I created no longer gave me that high. I needed a better fix, so I turned to writing and songwriting.
It is one thing to apply paint to canvas and create a picture, or to assemble pieces of metal and make a solid object. But to assemble words on paper, a computer screen or even in your head, to me is the ultimate form of creativity. It is truly creating something out of nothing, pulling something out of the air, so to speak.
Songwriting takes this a step further because you are pulling musical notes out of the air and adding to the words. Paul McCartney was once asked if he got a thrill from hearing his music performed by other artists. He replied that the biggest thrill he got was from walking down the street and hearing someone singing or whistling one of his songs.
Most of us will never see firsthand the work of Michael Angelo or an original Picasso and if we do it will only be for a moment. But the written word or recorded music can be shared by anyone, even for free. No one will charge you a fee to sing a Beatles song in your shower.
Language is the greatest gift given to human kind; it is what sets us apart from the animals. Animals have feelings; they feel happiness, grief, and anger but cannot express those feelings to others the way we can. I can assemble words, and if I do it right, can make others laugh or cry, or bring out other emotions, just by hearing or reading those words.
I can paint pictures with words; pictures far more vivid and real than I could ever paint on canvas. And the picture I paint will be different for each individual. I remember as a child listening to plays on the radio. The scenes I saw in my mind were real because they took place in my house and my neighborhood. I was in the scene, not on the outside looking in as I would be viewing a movie or television.
Through my writing I can re-live my life; I can do the things I wish I’d done and say the things I wish I’d said. Writing is wonderful therapy and the question I often ask myself as I finish something, is "Am I a better person for having written this?" If the answer is "yes" then it is a reward in itself.
So writing satisfies a need that I have to create. If someone else learns something, is made to think, or is simply entertained then that is the extra scoop of ice cream on my apple pie.