An author recently expressed regret and concern to me that she'd stopped writing songs. A longtime songwriter, used to working with music producers and other musicians, this author hadn't written any new songs in quite a while and was wondering whether she was a fraud if she continued to define herself as a "songwriter" if she wasn't performing at various gigs.
"Wait a minute! Here's the thing, though," I said to her after a moment. "You've spent the better part of the past two years writing an epic fantasy in which a girl writes songs as part of the journey she's on to find love and her place in the world, the journey she's on to find her true voice. You've been writing a story that's coming from the very same place from which you write your songs."
We got to talking about artistry and creativity, acknowledging that there are many forms of creative and artistic expression, all of which stem from essentially the same place...and in this author's case, writing a story about a girl seeking her voice and songwriting itself are so very closely intertwined in this author's own heart and craft that they just can't be considered separately. The author is absolutely using many of the same artistic muscles to write her story as she uses to write songs--because she's a writer. Period. Performing songs for an audience becomes an essential goal for the songwriter and such performance can and does give some form of validity to the artist; so, too, does sharing a story with readers give the artist some form of validity. But what's critical for any artist to remember and embrace is that the crafting of the art itself can and does also validate the artist and the art.
To my mind, the bridges between and among writing, singing, painting, sculpting, and any other form of artistic expression are all forged from the same steel that is storytelling. In whatever ways we craft, express, and share our art, we craft, express, and share our stories and ourselves. There are no frauds here.
(c) emma d dryden, drydenbks LLC