Friday, May 27, 2011

Touching the Soul

There are times when I think I suck as a writer.

I'm sure we all do. It's not unusual. Self doubt. It's a good thing. Keeps us hungry to improve.

I have talent. I'm not being proud or arrogant when I say that. I do. I'm not saying I'm more talented that other published or non-published writers, but I can identify that I do have a gift for imagination and, probably to a less degree that imagination, for putting words to page.

But then I come across something that truly touches the soul. Most often it's music for me, because I love music and I suck at it (completely tone deaf), but sometimes it is a work of art (for which I also have no talent), and other times it is a scene written so beautifully and filled with such emotion that it fills me up to the point of bursting. Usually it's sadness, but not always.

And that's when I feel like don't have that kind of talent. I've never managed that level of...whatever you call that. Inspiration? Being inspiring? I don't know. Capturing the raw beauty of life. Yeah, let's go with that.

Not everything we read or write or watch or listen to can or should do that, of course. But it's powerful when it happens.

A few of my test readers have told me my book did get them choked up and teary (at an appropriately place). I was little surprised, and pleased, that it did so--especially when they said they had the same reactions across multiple reads. But still, I know I didn't touch the soul, not the way I mean.

And I'm not sure I can.

Some examples, if I may.

Music, in fact, the very song that got me feeling this way right now, The Book of Love. This is Peter Gabriel's cover of the original. There are some other great covers out there, too, which does says to me how awesome the song is.

For a book scene, I'll just reference the most recent one I recall. It was a scene in The Hunger Games, but I won't go into details and spoil anything. I'll just note it deals with Katniss and a crown of flowers. The second book, Catching Fire, had a great scene that built off of this, too. Just amazing the affect those scenes can have. Powerful.

I'll also add that the TV show Scrubs did this amazingly well. Never have I seen a show range from such comedy to such intense emotion. So many awesome episodes. This particular video sums it up very well, I think.

I suppose it would be hubris to think I have or should be able to create something like that. It's a goal. A far reaching one, I guess. And maybe, if I'm really lucky and I work really hard, I'll create something in my life that touches someone so powerfully.

It's a hope anyway.

How about you? What stirs your soul? What drives you on to lofty goals?

will keep striving.

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