"Don't only practice your art; but force your way into its secrets for it and knowledge can rise men to the Divine." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven ~
This quote intrigues me. The power of knowing your art can "rise men" to the realm of "the Divine" or bring them to a place where they touch the aesthetics of life. To me that is influential and the purpose of any artist's work—I would presume.
You may know that Beethoven developed deafness at the age of 26 and could no longer hear the piano as he performed. He retired himself to composing symphonies and concertos, which he heard in occupied in his thinking—he and his compositions where one in mind and soul.
Force Yourself to Complete Your Calling
To hear the marked notes on his manuscript. he put his ear against the wood of the piano to perceive the vibrational tones. He wrote most of his famous pieces around this period. Defiantly he needed to "force" himself to reach beyond his growing deafness and trust the secrets he already knew concerning the passion of music that lived within him. Beethoven had wonderful music stirring in him that had to get out. His music needed to be played, to be heard—not by himself, but by the world.
I'm not sure if all artists reach such levels of intensity, maybe composers like Ludwig Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and writers like Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoy, Anne Frank, and Mark Twain were a league of their own. It seems the characteristics of the music, poetry, or the novel became apart of their waking moments.
Hearing With Your Soul
When I watch a musician play, I love to capture their facial expressions—it speaks mounds of where their music is coming from. And that inspires me.
Writers perform their craft in private. There is no stage in where they sit before an audience and receive applause for their hard work. However their audience sits in private, or at a doctor's offices, or on a rainy day sipping a cup of tea and immersing him or herself in the story the writer labored over. And hopefully the passion of the writing will burst with vibrancy, coming alive for the reader.
It's not with his ears in which Beethoven heard his concertos and symphonies but his soul, his spirit. The mystery of the craft is the soul, the passion—the art in the one creating or performing, and the closer he draws to his gift the closer he draws others to the Divine, who knows no bounds.
Without that passion there is nothing.
The Passion of a Writer
The same goes for the writer who hears the voices of their characters, senses a story, which is burning to be told. Feels the desire to write like the need to eat. Feels the passion to write because they have something that begs to be told.
As Ernest Hemingway put it, "The writer must write what he has to say, not speak it."
My art is writing and my desire is to learn to feel the soul of the words, which I am crafting into a sentence then into a story . . . to bring about an emotional connection; whether it's a children's story, short story, or an article. If I've not captured the secret of the work, its soul, then I'm not deserving to write the words.
I submit that "forcing" our way into the "secrets" of our craft is to dismantle what we think we know. To learn to write by "soul" . . . like learning to play the piano by ear, allows the words to flow freely, to give permission for the story to come alive. A spotlight illuminating the mysteries of our passion, where we can move into them without hesitation. Then we can take the knowledge of what shapes our story into a worthy book to be read by others.
Force Your Work to Sing
When I achieve that place where my creativity is alive, flowing, and coming from the depth of places I didn't know existed in me, certainly it will have been an exhausting work. Then and only then, I believe I will have the sense of joining with someone greater then my self (The Divine) as I've fashioned something out of those secret places, which lay in me, waiting for the courage to spring forth a flood of what lies within me. All my experiences, good and bad, happy or sad!
I'm certain that words can sing like music. When at a writers conference, Jack Cavanaugh, a Historical novelist said,"Make your writing sing." I think that is what Beethoven was saying as well.
" . . . But force your way into its secrets . . . " make what your work sings. The mystery of not only practicing one's art but giving all of yourself to the art in which your soul resonates along with your creation as if you were one, for a snippet of time, making a melody that not only touches your heart but "can rise men to the Divine." That's what I want to do, how about you?
ENJOY MY FRIENDS!
Write, play, compose, paint, illustrate, develop, craft on . . . be who God created you to be—an artist!