Sunday, 26 September 2010

Is It Just Writers?

Penny for my thoughts,
Oh no,
I'll sell 'em for a dollar.
They're worth so much after I'm a goner,
And maybe then you'll hear the words I've been singing
Funny when you're dead how people start listening....
- The Band Perry, If I Die Young

This, to me, captures the essence of peer pressure. How? A song about premature death and peer pressure - how can they be related in any way besides (
sadly) cause and effect?

I don't think they're just related, I think they're two colors in the same painting. Other colors:
Obsessive Romance

Are you confused yet? Here's where I'm coming from - in all those colors, there's one thing in common. Someone paying attention.
Sometimes it's too late, sometimes they're only listening to the words we've been told to say, but the fact is, for a moment, someone's attention is totally, absolutely, directly focused on you.
And it's addictive. You see it in books, in songs, in movies, but how often in real life?

It's not just sight: they're watching you for the smallest signs in your face
It's not just hearing: they're listening for your inflections, your motivations
It's not just conversation: they're trying to figure out your mind, what you're thinking
It's not just entertainment: they're involving you in their own plans, not just as an addition

I know I'm addicted to this, but is it the writer in me, or the human?

If it's the writer, I can understand and use it to relate to other people.
But if it's the human, worlds are opened.

I'll be honest, when I write I don't keep the reader in much importance. I mean, I do in the sense that I try to fill in all plot holes and make the story entertaining, but mostly my work goes into the story, making it the best it can be. I have long believed this to be the best course of action. The writer in me still does.
The human isn't so sure.

Pandering isn't what I'm going for here. But us authors love to talk about how important our stories our, at least to us, how we hope and wish that someone else will love them someday too. And that's good. We pour our souls into the story, we want people to pay attention to them. We want them to listen.
How often do we listen to them?

There's hunger in the world, not just for food, but for something more. Artists - no matter their medium - know and feel it. Try to feed it. No matter the piece of art, I believe that there is someone somewhere who hungers to be told the story (or painting, song, etc). But not because it's was written, they want it because, in a way, it was written for them.
Does that make sense? There's not a solid difference, a 'do this' or a 'don't do this,' but it is a mind-shift. Just an idea.



Nicole MacDonald said...

Our stories are pieces of our soul laid out bare for all to see. It is an enlightening and heartbreaking experience to share them but makes us so much stronger. Love the post :)

Renae said...

I loved this post! Well said!

j.leigh.bailey said...

that song gives me chills every time i hear it.

And what you said it so true. I'm reading (and I can't believe it's taken me so long to get to it) Perks of Being a Wallflower, and while I'm not a 15 year old boy, the things he says and experiences resonate with me in ways that are awesome and just a little uncomfortable. Great post!

Marsha Sigman said...


I really believe this is the truth. But I think when something resonates with us on that kind of level, that it might not be intentional by the author/songwriter. We are all connected and share experiences, we just don't feel that way a lot of the time. But we should all really try to listen to each other more.

Jen Daiker said...

This was a beautiful post, so inspiring! I think there is a hunger inside all of us, whether it's to write a book, paint a picture, get yourself a degree.

I think there is a story in all of us, just waiting to be told :)

Sangu said...

Great post, very well said! Whenever I read those lyrics, I think of how artists are often so much better appreciated after they're dead. The whole 'genius is never appreciated in its own time...' thing.

Janet Johnson said...

That song is addictive! I don't think of audience nearly enough. I write for me, what I enjoy, and often enough, no one else ever will, but I'm still glad I wrote it.