An Adventurous Spirit
January 18, 2011 § 4 Comments
I think I consider myself adventurous. Oh, not in the sense that I go exploring in the wilds—although I have been known to take non-roads over mountain passes in Brasil. But have I taken chances? Yes, I have.
Being a performer means putting my talent on display for all to hear and see and criticize. I find it daunting—and exhilarating—and I admit to being an unmitigated ham. Even now, after so many years, there’s nothing so satisfying as hitting a high b-flat at 8:45 AM during chorale rehearsal and knowing I’m on pitch and the sound is GOOOOOOD … and just yesterday morning, too!
Arrogant? Most likely I am perceived by some as such. But although I’ve tried never to act like it to others, without at least a little arrogance, I wouldn’t have been able to entertain an audience when on stage, teach my students in the classroom, or praise God with my singing in church … and this last not as paradoxical as it sounds. Ask any performer. Knee knocking and queasy stomachs are part of the territory for most of us in any venue.
Now I write and the feelings are the same, even though I’m not (yet) ‘performing’ for thousands. No one watches me put ‘pen’ to paper. No one waits for the curtain to rise, hands at the ready for clapping my entrance. No vast audience clamors for my next masterwork!
To grow an audience such as this I must be as adventurous in this profession as in the last. I must take joy in the torture of giving birth and watching the “baby” grow and then sending it forth to find its way in the world. I must imbue each manuscript with my adventurous spirit, with life and personality and character and kindness – or not. Eventually, it is my need to write that propels the obsession to perform … my choice, my resolve, my angst. I think I have the talent and the craft, but will this be enough? Will my vision be validated? We shall see.
You captured it precisely: writers are performing on the stage of the page!
Singing gives me a high too. Second to that of writing a story I feel is great even if others don’t agree.
I really enjoyed your post. I have often noticed the correlation between “acting” and writing. When I write from a character’s point of view, I become that person as an actor would on a stage. Keep on writing!
I both sing and write and I’d say that singing provides a bigger punch of adrenalin. The song exists in the moment; it incandesces and then flickers out. The joy of writing burns more slowly but lasts longer.
And yes, both are acts of putting yourself out there to be judged. I think as little as possible about the judgment over which I have no control, and concentrate on the joy.
Mary Lois, your recent news about finding a great agent should put you in front of a reading audience soon. I’ve seen you hit that high b-flat as a writer. I know you will wow them! Adrian (Fogelin)