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« Words | Main | Uncertainty »

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, which boosted my self-esteem, and 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. 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 humankind, 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.

Writing satisfies the need 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.


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Reader Comments (5)

The great value of Uncertainty! "Language is the greatest gift of mankind":

Trump Keeps Saying He’s Never Heard of a Category 5 Hurricane

There've been 45 in his lifetime, 7 since he's been in office.

Trump language = ?

September 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Jack. I thought this was a politics-free site, BUT you are a liberal so why not quote the things that Biden has said if you can remember them that is. But ref to what Dave is talking about. Like Dave, I also have been an artist most of my life. In England in the 1950s 1960s at age 11 we all took exams to see what we would be best at later in life.I took art and went to Moseley School of art in Brum England until I was 15 then I was given an apprenticeship with the famous Birmingham English sculptor William Bloye until I went in the RAF at age 18 I started cycling at around 13 and I always had a pad and pencil in my Brooks saddle bag I would stop on a ride and sketch whatever I thought interesting, I still have many of those sketches and paintings many fond memories. There are several building coats of arms that I also helped carve still there, that I took great pride in doing I obviously have problems writing unlike Dave and it is something that I would like to improve on, but time is now getting short at age 86 How Dave keeps this blog going and his vast knowledge of many subjects is beyond me. Keep it going Dave great stuff

September 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Yes Jack, keep your political views to yourself and comment about what Dave's subject matter is about !

September 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Good post Dave. I recently started writing on Medium.com and quite enjoy it.

September 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterStephen McAteer

To those who are still supporting political nonsense by denying they are supporting political BS, wake up! The only comments that are pure political BS come from anti-democratic,anti-progress Crump and Brian.

Crump: "But with the left bias, I am afraid this country will end up as the UK is now."

Really? Here is the subject = Words Matter

Yes they do and look what political words has done to GREAT Britain.

The British pound continues to fall from Brexit BS. Volatile and declining exchange rates are associated with weak and unsuccessful governments. It means the value of all wages, the value of property, and the future prospects for Britain are declining.

Trump is advocating for the same in the USA. But to convince people of the truth is a ridiculous objective for proBrexit and Trump supporters - they are stuck in fake news, probably forever.

Everything Trump touches dies... casinos, vodka, wine, university, an airline and these is the BS you support? Political BS is destroying Britain and Trump supporters want the same for the USA whether they acknowledge it or not.

September 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJack

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