Monday, November 26, 2012

Is this what it's like for other artists?


I sit here listening to "Anti Gravity" by Lindsey Stirling while editing my book.  The sounds of her bow dancing across the strings of a violin blend with the wicked dubstep of modern technology.

I find myself trying to figure out how she thought to put all those notes together.  Was it difficult for her?  To me, it's like magic.  I'm so thankful for musicians who play their music for us.  But I wonder how they make it happen.  How can they see such things?

I've tried playing guitar.  I can't even get notes if I push down on strings on the fret bar.  It just doesn't make sense to me.


Painters are another type of artist that I'm astonished by.  They take oil or watercolor and spread them on canvas.  When they're done, there's a scene that pulls at the imagination.  How did they get that paint in exactly those blends to make it work?

I've tried painting.  I've ended up with a mess of colors.


Much like painters, Illustrators drop lines onto paper.  Those lines add up to make an amazing picture.  Add some color and you have a beautiful scene that I can stare at for hours, wondering what it would be like.

I try to do this.  My lines are shaky and out of order.  The image in my mind is translated into a stick figure with a messed up face.


I watch my wife make her jewelry.  I think about others that crochet, sculpt, sew and design buildings.  These people have a vision and use their hands to make it?  How do they do such things?

My wife took gears and chain.  She made a steampunk necklace that everyone wanted with those items.  She took buttons and made them into jewelry.  She puts beads together to make decorative chandeliers.  She makes chainmail earrings.  How does she see these things? 

If I try it, I get a string of beads that will likely break.  I'm not even going to try to crochet or design a building!


As I said,  I was editing my book.  You see, this is the 6th novel I've written.  I find myself smiling as I read.  I'm excited for the next paragraph, the next chapter and the end of the book, even though I know I'm going to cry yet again.

Writing is an art, no?  I see so many struggle with it.  Some try to start and get as far as a page before stopping and saying, "This is too hard."

I tilt my head in confusion when they say that.  It's not hard at all.

Don't they see the worlds expanding before them?  Don't they know about all the characters yearning to tell their stories?  It's all right there.  Can't they simply put the words down on paper?  Learn the craft of writing, making sentences, using punctuation?  How do they not understand how enjoyable it is?

Worlds open for me when I write.  I smile and craft sentences to bring characters to life.  It's incredibly easy, especially now.  The problem is that there just isn't enough time to write all the stories in my mind.

Is that what it's like?

For other artists?  Is it that easy to create music, paint a picture, craft a necklace?  Do those things desire to be created by other artists the way my stories do for me?  If so, I nod in understanding at how you must feel.  I admire you for what you do. 

Most importantly, I thank you for sharing that art with the world.

All my best,

John H. Carroll


Kenny said...

Just read this from William Trevor:

"The same applies to any artist; we are the tools and instruments of our talent. We are outsiders;
we have no place in society because society is what we’re watching, and dealing with."

- William Trevor (Paris Review Interview)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kenny,

Wow! There is so much truth in that statement. It truly does feel as though my talent, manifesting as the stories in my mind, controls who I am and what I do.

I definitely do not feel as a part of society. In fact, I tend to be resentful of society for insisting that I attempt to be a part of it. ;)

Thank you for that quote. :)

All my best,


Steve Nowland said...

Amen to that, brother! I sometimes feel left out of society, but then I remember if I was out there in amongst it, I would have no time or energy to do my Great Works™. We artists walk a different path :)

John H. Carroll said...

Your paintings are part of what made me think of this, Steve. It's amazing how you can take those images in your mind and put them on a canvas. :)