The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 35

The Other Arts are Important

Last week, my husband and I traveled to the Berkshires in Massachusetts for our annual visit. We have friends who summer up there and they invite us up each year.

Theater and music are always part of the scheme. As a writer, I deeply appreciate the arts. I have no skills in drawing, painting or sculpture, so I’m thrilled to visit art museums and galleries and the region abounds with them. The joke in our family is, “Show Mom a teacup and she’ll write a thousand words about it, but don’t ask her to draw it.”

The Berkshires are also filled with music. We usually go to one or two concerts at Tanglewood. The Boston Symphony Orchestra summers there and provides outdoor concerts all summer long, plus you can attend rehearsals and watch musicians as they prepare on oboes, flutes, trumpets, violins, drums, and dozens of musical instruments. We were privileged to attend both the practice and the formal concert of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

It was totally thrilling and a moment I’ll never forget. When the chorus at the end sang the final movement, it brought tears to my eyes.

We also saw a premiere of a comedy by Kathleen Clark called “What We May Be”. It was amusing, yet deep and made me think, which is what theater is all about.

There is nothing like a live performance. The actor, comedienne, singer, violinist or conductor is out there in front of you doing his thing, making you laugh, making you cry, bringing out emotions and feelings that you never realized you had.

Writers should make a point of attending live performances, whether it’s a country-western singer in your local bar or a symphony in a large amphitheater. These artists will inspire and amaze you.

If you’re a writer, you generally work alone, typing, correcting, re-reading, and editing until you have a finished product. A friend, family member or co-worker may proof your product. A book publisher will edit it and make changes, but all this is happening behind the scenes. You are not in front of a thousand people performing and hoping they like your work.

Attending and appreciating other art forms will inspire you and make you a better writer. Do it!

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