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Tuesday
Jan012013

Why write?

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.

 

                        

Reader Comments (5)

Dave, those words and music have to come from somewhere. You can't just make them up out of nothing. Clearly, you have led a varied and interesting life.

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

The words-stories in Prodigal Child say much about your beliefs, hopes and dreams. Happy New Year Dave. Look forward to reading more of your therapeutic creativity. For me, cycling is therapy.

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Dave I have said before that I wish I had the knack with words that you have. Another OLDBRIT frame builder is also an artst and musician like we are. COLIN LAING he is as I am sure you know, living in Chandler Arizona, he is I think younger than we are, but still riding painting and playing his valve trombome. He lost his love of his life Margaret a few months ago, but is still up beat about life and is a joy to write to and hear from. Maybe you could feature him at some time I am sure he would be an inspiration to your readers as you are.

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Crump

A picture may "paint" ten thousand words but please, give me words instead. Would I rather look at a picture for days upon days - or sit and read East of Eden? Writing is truly our greatest gift - both to create and appreciate but also to destroy.

Julius Caesar, The Grapes of Wrath, Robert Frost's masterpieces, Tolstoy, nothing visual could ever begin to compare with the evil and yet beautiful mental photos created by such brilliant words.

"Hand me not a paintbrush but a sharpened pencil and a piece of flattened pulp and let me tell you about . . . ."

January 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames Thurber

Thanks Dave.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersarge

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