Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Writer and the Musician

I love music. When I was young I read an article in Omni Magazine that stayed with me. The article said, if one puts their DNA to music, it makes perfect musical sense. I used to joke saying that's why I had music in my head all the time.Well, someone did put DNA to music.

 I am a Lay Speaker at my church and during Laity Sunday I was doing my message on how God is hardwired into us. I did a little research and found this article:

It was very interesting. These people were doing a study on singers and non-singers to see if anything in their DNA made a difference. It did. They hired a composer to take the singers' DNA and put it to music. Then I heard the musical piece: 

Wow! These people were singing their own genetic code -  their DNA.  I was blown away.  I was fascinated. I shared this in my message and got a lot of weird looks. I don't think it was one of my better messages. I'm such a geek.

So are we hardwired to be writers? I would like to think so. I believe we are made to be creative. When I think of all that God has created, and we are made in His image, then it stands to reason that we would be creative as well. It makes me happy to be creative. 

I like music. Most music. I can appreciate rap for the poetry, but don't really like it musically.  I'm not much into country. I like some of it, but when it gets to twangy, my poor little head wants to explode. I listen to anything from Vivaldi to Linkin Park, Third Day to Squirrel Nut Zippers.I have to be careful with Berlioz. His music can give me nightmares.

I love the way music can tell a story. The rhythm and melodies take us on a journey. Some songs are happy, some sad, some angry, and some songs make you laugh.  "The Motorcycle Song" by Arlo Guthrie makes me smile. My kids and I sing at the top of our lungs when I play that one. "Home" by Mercy Me makes me cry almost every time I hear it. That song reminds me of my father, who passed away several years ago. 

Isn't that what we writers do? Don't we take our readers on a journey? Our words are the rhythms and melodies of a song. Our stories weave through our readers' imagination like the crescendos and decrescendos of a musical piece. The percussion and crash of symbols during a tense scene that comes to an end. The soft, gentle lyrics encouraging our readers to continue with our hero or heroine, and cheer them on until the very end. To the fermata that holds out that final note as our story comes to a close. We hope our readers feel satisfied at the end of our piece; happy with their journey and want to go again. Isn't that our goal as a writer? I know that is mine. 

When I joined the choir at church several years ago, I entertained the thought I could sing. Well I can sing, as long as I have someone next to me singing the correct note.I can read music, but I don't know what the notes sound like off the top of my head. If I'm singing and the note goes up or down a step or half step, I may go to high or to low. I was disappointed in myself because I couldn't do it.  One evening after practice I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and these words flowed into my head.

                A poet and a musician sat under a tree. The poet looked up and prayed, “God, please give me the gift of music so I can sing to your glory.”
Kitty Blue
                And God said, “You have it.”
                The musician looked up to Heaven and prayed, “Father, please give me the gift of Poetry, so I can write beautiful words praising you.”
                And God said, “You have it.”
                The poet and the musician were excited.  Each had to try their new gifts. The musician sat to write and the poet began to sing. Each was dismayed. They looked up to God and said, “Nothing’s changed.”
                God smiled. “Each of you has always had the gift.” He looked at the poet. “Your words bring music to the heart.” He looked at the musician. “Your songs are poetry to the soul. Share them.”
                The poet and the musician smiled and thanked God for their gifts. Together they sat and sang songs of the heart, and composed poetry for the soul.

Writing is coded in our DNA just like music. Our need to tell our stories in encoded deep our souls. Lets go write those stories and take our readers on a wonderful trip.