First, as I often do, I have a confession. When I discovered that Frances Mayes had a blog, I was filled with utter glee. Since that time, my heart leaps a little with joy each time I see that she’s posted through my RSS feed.
If you’re unsure who Frances Mayes is, she wrote ‘Under the Tuscan Sun,’ which was adapted into one of my favorite chick-flicks of all time. (She moves on when she doesn’t want to. She rebuilds and reclaims a life, before the guy shows up. No rescues here. It’s filled with beautiful friendships and ultimately a second chance at life in a place completely unexpected.)
There are stark contrasts between Frances’ book and the movie adaptation, as there usually are. Frances writes at length about food, walks along the Roman roads, flowers she sees along the way, the details of life that make it beautiful.
I’m not a cook. I’m not a big walker. I’m not even that into flowers. And yet, I am filled with delight when given the opportunity to read anything she writes.
If I have so little in common with Frances and her choice of topics, why do I relish reading her so much? Why does she make me wish I did cook and was a walker who noticed flowers?
It all comes down to what I feel. Her writing is infused with her spirit. As I read what she shares, I feel comfort. I feel joy. A smile creeps across my face gently.
It makes me love her for sharing stories that illicit that sort of response in me. It makes me clamor for anything of hers that I can read.
I know that artists are passionate about their chosen medium. If not, we couldn’t stand spending the time that’s required perfecting the craft. But it’s ultimately not about the medium. It’s not about the detail of the stories we share.
It’s about sharing what we feel. It’s about what others feel when they see our work. It’s about communicating what we see, what we feel and someone else connecting and thinking, “Yeah. Me too.”
The details may differ. The topics may be oceans apart from what normally interests us. But it’s not about the surface. It’s not about the shallows. It’s about what’s underneath.
It’s about connecting, one human heart recognizing another human heart. It’s about the story and the emotion underneath.
When we forget that, our work becomes cold. It lacks meaning. It becomes….just another story. Just another painting. Just another photograph. Just another song.
What story are you trying to tell? What emotion do you want someone else to connect with your work?