The Artist vs. The Writer

As I sit here trying to materialize the “perfect” wording to describe the adventures I had with my daughter the other day I’m hit hard with the realization that not everyone can write.  I believe anyone can draw … especially since I can do it … and there are plenty of others who are better than me.

Drawing involves hand-eye coordination and truly observing what is in front of you.  Pulling something out of one’s head takes more practice since it comes from inside and it’s not tangible.  Writing on the other hand is not so easy.  It’s observing, but instead of making universally understood marks into universally understood shapes, one uses words and language to craft an idea.  Writing is nothing more than an intangible idea.  One can read an author’s words describing a sky so blue that the depth of the aqua tints brings tears of joy to the eyes and wells of emotion in the depths of the soul, but all that is real is the page with marks in a patterned code that only a select few may understand.  What is “aqua”?  What is the difference between tint and shade?  No comprendo.  Je ne parle pas l’anglais.  Scheist.  (I wanted to include a clip of Kid’s in the Hall: Brain Candy, but I couldn’t find the “I don’t speak German” bit.  The nipples of Mother Hope have run dry.)

To really understand what an author is saying (even then it’s still fractional), is to see into their soul for a brief moment.  The ideas that can only be contained in one’s head are as fleeting and as tangible as wisps of cirrostratus clouds high in the outer atmosphere of this spinning rock we are privileged to call home.

Books have always been my best friends, but I never gave much thought to the people who have applied themselves to each piece I found comfort in.  How spoiled and ungrateful I’ve been to overlook such a deep and profound notion.  I have always appreciated the great works of Monet, Manet, Degas, and David.  They captured a moment in time and told stories through each brush stroke, every color choice, and each use of proportion and space.  Shakespeare, Twain, Bronte, and Dickens, however, used nothing more than language and rhythm to craft their stories and ideas.  They used the unseen chemistry of characters to paint the picture of the spinning atoms that bond or repel which create the almost tangible breath of life all around us.

At times I feel overwhelmed by this desire to tell a story.  Any story.  I see so much life around me and I want to capture it.  What I see is so beautiful and I want to share it with the world!  Sometimes what I see is not as simple as a drawing or a photograph.  Sometimes it’s a style.  Sometimes it’s a poem.  Sometimes it’s a string of words and sentences twisted and turned to create a picture.  I have a lot of hopes and dreams and I tend to be as wild and unpredictable as the wind, but the goal of expression has remained constant.  (The clip of Joanna quitting from Office Space would have been nice right here, but alas, no such luck.)  Dr. Faye sees me as an artist, but whatever I am, I’d rather not wear a label.  It would be like capturing a warm autumn breeze scented with the crisp falling leaves of the red and gold maples in a jar.

Published by Val Smith

Artist, writer, dreamer.

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