I love music. I listen to all types and there are certain songs that I can really connect with. Depending on where I am in my own journey, I can hear a song and it becomes part of the soundtrack for whatever phase I am in.
I heard a song a few years ago and it spoke so clearly to my level of understanding that I felt like I had a view into the singer’s heart. Since my husband is in the music industry, I get several opportunities to meet musicians that I have connected with through their art.
I had one such opportunity to talk to the singer/song-writer of this one particular song. He posed a question to God in his song and I asked him if he knew the answer. I had made the song my own and couldn’t wait to connect with him in his art. He answered my question by telling me what the question meant. It was so far off from what I had taken from it that I quickly exited the conversation and let him talk to the other people who were waiting to talk to him.
I was a little disappointed that what I had taken from his art was not a direct artist-to-artist line to his heart or the deeper truths that his art brought out in me.
He wasn’t finished talking to me, however, and caught up with me as I was about to leave. He thought my question was insightful and wanted to know more about why I asked. I led the discussion to the the revelation that a writer can put a bit of art out there and the readers (or listeners) can take it and combine it with their own walk to form something entirely different than what the writer intended. We connected on that level and it was great. What remained is that I took his writing to mean something that had more implications for me than it did for him.
I face this in my own writing. I write bits of reflection and insight and turn it in to a piece of art to be pondered. I write about things to make people think. I don’t necessarily write about where I am, but more often I write about where others are or where I have previously been.
People read, listen, or look at any form of art and they combine it with their own journey and it takes on a life of its own. If an artist, and I include writers as artists, produces something that hits too close to home, the reader/listener/observer puts their own thoughts into the artists mind and rejects them or accepts them accordingly.
A person can watch an actor for years in a series in which they never miss an episode. They feel like they know this actor. They know their laugh, they know how to tell when they’re upset, they know when they’re lying and when they’re being genuine. However, if you walked up to them in the street and proceeded to talk to them like you knew them, you would be sadly disappointed because you would realize that they aren’t the character you grew to know. You realize that you don’t know them at all.
You can read a book and feel so connected with the author that you feel like they know him or her. You can listen to a singer belt out the words to your heart so clearly that you feel like you can reach out to them and connect.
Distance between artist and the public makes room for fantasy. You have to understand that there is an amazing transformation between creation and interpretation. The transformation can be instigated by the creation, but the interpretation is a reflection of what is in side of you, not them.
I like when singers create albums of songs out of one hint of a moment in their lives. Pain, fear, rejection, and life-questions make the best art. I can listen to an album for the first time and connect with it because it digs deeply into where I am at the moment. It gives my experience a voice and I heal through the idea that I am not the only one who feels what I am feeling. My life carries on and grows into the next phase, but the album does not. Art does not grow, the interpreter does. When I am no longer in that phase, the album takes on another form. It takes on the form of something in the past and I don’t always connect with it like I did.
Art is a nod to a moment and very seldom, no matter how clear the message, is it a permanent statement of the artist. It’s a letter that your night time tears wrote, but your morning clarity rips up. Artists, instead of ripping it up, show it. Not because they are still there, but because it’s a piece of art. It’s a piece of humanity that gleaned inspiration from a movie, a song, a thought, something witnessed, or personal experience. Artists take their emotion without trying to make it logical or pretty, and they create something with it. The interpreter is only as good as their own humanity.
Psychology interprets art. Who you are on the inside determines what you take from someone else’s expression. There is an infinite distance with only a mirage of connection between the artist and the interpreter. It’s like the ink blot test. Your interpretation is not a reflection of the artist. It’s a reflection of you.