From the Archives: The Music of Words

A couple years ago I showed you this incredibly heavy box of music that was sitting in the middle of my kitchen. It represented over a decade of choral music collected by one of our church accompanists. In the same way as I hoard books, she hoards music, and for the same reason – it speaks to her.

She needed to downsize and was returning a portion of her collection. While I sorted through the six hundred-or-so octavos and several music books, I couldn’t ignore other similarities.

Notes build phrases of melody that blend into harmony, creating music that sings in my heart.

Letters become words and sentences, and grow into stories that beguile my imagination.

Both transport me to a new place. The creativity required to produce the best form of both is art, and originates somewhere deep within. When it is well done, it impacts those who listen… and read.

The creativity represented by all this music staggers me. Each song is unique and represents hours, days, months or maybe even years of the composer’s time. More significant is the piece of its creator’s soul that is embedded in the reality of each.

Composing words and music are both forms of writing, totally different, and yet so very much the same.

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If you are a writer, do you find your creativity spills over into other forms of art?

~  ~  ~

Graphics by digitalart

 

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The Music of Words

This incredibly heavy box of music is sitting in the middle of my kitchen. It represents over a decade of choral music collected by one of our church accompanists. In the same way as I hoard books, she hoards music, and for the same reason – it speaks to her.

She needed to downsize and was returning a portion of her collection. While I sorted through the six hundred-or-so octavos and several music books, I couldn’t ignore other similarities.

Notes build phrases of melody that blend into harmony, creating music that sings in my heart.

Letters become words and sentences, and grow into stories that beguile my imagination.

Both transport me to a new place. The creativity required to produce the best form of both is art, and originates somewhere deep within. When it is well done, it impacts those who listen… and read.

The creativity represented by all this music staggers me. Each song is unique and represents hours, days, months or maybe even years of the composer’s time. More significant is the piece of its creator’s soul that is embedded in the reality of each.

Composing words and music are both forms of writing, totally different, and yet so very much the same.

~

If you are a writer, do you find your creativity spills over into other forms of art?

~  ~  ~

Graphics by digitalart

 

Books as Wall Art?

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One of the bloggers I encountered during my ‘Freshly Pressedadventure is very crafty. In checking out her blog, Almost Never Clever, I discovered her living room wall art project – a framed collage of sections taken from used books.

This involved cutting apart dozens of books, something that normally would make readers and writers cringe. It’s akin to writing in the margins, highlighting and underlining. Some of us do that with wanton abandon; others can’t bring themselves to the desecration.

I have a musical friend who framed old sheets of music for her music room wall and I thought she was a genius. But dissembling books is so permanent. I’m not sure if I could do it. On one hand, the art focuses attention on beloved pieces of literature, features favourite passages. On the other, it’s destructive… almost seems cannibalistic to one who views her books as old friends.

What do you think? My question isn’t intended to direct criticism at the artist because art is always a personal expression of creativity. I’m just wondering if such a project would appeal to you. Is it something you could do without hesitation?

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I Like It. She Doesn’t.

Not long ago I mentioned that I don’t choose books based on reviews. What one reader likes in a story isn’t always what satisfies another. Do you ever wonder why that is? Why one agent passes on a manuscript because it doesn’t ignite a spark, and yet another agent will become a passionate advocate of the same story?

Some years ago I designed a small stained glass piece for a church group in Port Alberni — a fish symbol suspended on the diagonal midway between the indigo of sky and ocean, and the green of land. Deciding on exactly the right colours wasn’t easy. Depending on where it would hang (south-facing window, on a wall, in a dark alcove, etc.), the light would affect the perception of its colours.

A Benedictine monastery near where I live provides a worshipful environment enhanced by the effect of unusual stained glass windows. The chapel is circular, and the colours of the glass gradually change from one window to another around the perimeter. Depending on the time of day and location of the sun, the light infusing the chapel glows with different hues.

It’s only my opinion, but my heart tells me that each individual sees the intensity of colour differently, according to where they stand in a room. Each feels degrees of emotion in relation to their own experiences. Each receives an author’s words into the unique arena of their own preferences.

One person likes our writing. Another doesn’t. It’s nothing personal. Then again, it’s all about personal taste and individual choice. It’s true in stained glass, in all forms of art, so why not in writing?


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Is Writing an Art?

La Maison du pendu by Paul Cézanne

Google points out this morning that the French artist Paul Cézanne would be 172 today. Happy Birthday, Paul! Cézanne was a Post-Impressionist painter who “used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that built up to form complex fields, at once both a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature.” (Wikipedia)

It has my brain tossing around ideas about writing and art. At times (long ago) I painted – mostly landscapes and still life in oils. I’ve also muddled with clay, creating sculpture and pottery. I don’t consider myself an artist, but I find it difficult to unearth an adequate definition of either art or an artist. The Encyclopedia Britannica suggests “Art is the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others,” but that tells only how it’s done rather than what it is.

During the Renaissance, “art” meant painting, sculpture, and architecture, and later also music and poetry… the basis of what was known as the ‘Fine Arts’. What elevated specific pieces above being mere craft, however, was the element of inspiration.

Some of my family members use brushes and colour, music, words and wood to create beauty. I consider them very artistic. When I visit the sites of Ann Voskamp and Sandra Heska King, to single out just a couple favourite blogs, I see original photography combined with words, both poetry and prose, that satisfies my personal interpretation of art.

But not every writer creates poetry. What of novel writing? Is it art? As novelists we yearn for the inspiration to create words that emotionally move our readers. If we succeed, have we created art?

Too many questions! It must be time for my morning coffee — my brain needs a shot of caffeine. Grab a cup and join in the conversation. What’s your opinion on novel writing as an art form?

Update: Not to ignore literary figures… today is also the birthday of American writer, poet, editor and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849), so Happy Birthday, Edgar!