Saturday, February 25, 2006

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. 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 together and make a solid object. But to assemble words on paper 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 the work of Michael Angelo or an original Picasso 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. 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 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 film 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 always ask myself as I finish something, is "Am I a better person for having written this?" If the answer is "yes" then this is reward in itself; but if someone else could become a better person for having read my work, then this would be the ultimate reason I write.

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