Every Artist has Their Opus

I met some truly wonderful people when I worked in Saudi Arabia. Many of whom I still talk to and try and keep relationships with. Life is about relationships and experiences. I had one friend there, a South African woman, who was probably too smart for her own good. She was always reading, always surveying things around her, and always trying to get the best out of every situation. I liked her. Not in THAT way, but I liked her. She wanted to truly live. William Wallace was reported to have said, “Every man dies, but how many truly live?” That is a good question Mr. Wallace. You did both didn’t you, you fiery Scotsman (who was allegedly born in Wales)? And it is her who I have to thank for the contents of this blog. It was true then and true now.

We were talking one day, and apart from having wonderfully amazing joke telling skills, she shares the same philosophy of not needed to go out and be doing something to be doing something. She says she sits and thinks, reads blogs, books, and literature of all sorts. I mentioned that I blogged, slipped her my blog link, and didn’t realize she’d actually read it. She did. And when I saw her a few days later on the third occasion our paths crossed as I was ambling towards the gift shop to buy a chocolate bar, she told me that “the golf book isn’t the book I’m supposed to write.” And when I said chocolate is an addiction of mine, she told me it wasn’t the only one I had based on her readings. Hmmm, she may be too smart for her own good. (This blog is no longer in existence, by the way.)

Naturally, it got me thinking and I don’t know if she is right about the golf book (probably is/was), but I think she is right about having something we are supposed to write. I had the idea of using my location in the Middle East to go to several countries and write a golf book for average golfers like me about the different courses on offer, and stuff like that. I would keep track on how many golf balls I lost, etc., because I thought it would be fun and too many pros write golf books and not enough average, normal people do. I can be average and normal (but not for too long as it really does bore me).

I believe every artist has one piece of work in them that will be their defining moment. Some artists, because they possess skills I can only dream about, have several to choose from, but are dead so they can’t choose, so we must speculate on what that one significant piece of work is. Michelangelo had David and the Sistine Chapel. Da Vinci had several to choose from as well. Garth Brooks, that retired country singer who put on a fabulous stage show, always said that his defining song came early for him – The Dance.

So we must all search for ours. We might not be as lucky as Margaret Mitchell and find it in our fist attempt, like Gone With the Wind did for her. Harper Lee only wrote one book, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and that seemed to do well for her. I’ve published that one book already; but I know it is not my defining piece of literature.

That’s not to say I haven’t written it yet. Maybe it’s sitting on my desktop on my computer at home, waiting to be edited and unleashed. Maybe Aaric, my beloved Hydra, is the book I’m supposed to write. On the other hand, maybe my defining piece of literature isn’t meant to be a book. What if my defining work, the words that live longest for me, were said so only a few could hear them? Perhaps the speech I wrote when my best friend Glenn got married are the single most important and impressionable words I’ll ever utter or put to paper?

I think every writer, or everyone who thinks they are a writer, has that one story to tell that only they will be able to tell. We can all tell the same story, with our own unique twist, but only we can tell the story that we are meant to tell. This is a story of not just words, but of emotion, of pain, of suffering, of everything we have ever seen, had ever hoped to see. This is a story that pains us to think about not writing. This is the story that we search for every time we blog, free write, or open our minds and our hearts to search for. This is the story that comes to us when we sleep, when we squeeze grapefruits in the produce section, when we look away from that cute girl who shyly smiles at you across a crowded coffee shop.

This is the story that has grown up with you. Every time you stubbed your toe as a child, every runny nose and scabbed knee build this story. In the quietest moments you hear it, dictating inside your mind, extrapolating the grand and wicked from the dull and mundane. This story, this creation of everything you are, were, and will be, is the story inside us that we all seek to find and produce. Every fleeting touch we recall, every metallic tang of coppery tasting blood we recollect from trying to stop our nose from bleeding by letting it drain down our throats is begging to be exploited.

And so we write. We write to escape boredom. We write because we feel compelled to do it. Sometimes we even write because we do have a story to tell. Sometimes I write simply because I like hearing my own voice as I read over the words as I type them. Maybe it’s time we focus on writing to tell our story. Maybe it’s time we unleash the tale that only we were meant to tell. From what I know of you, my dear blog readers and people I consider my peers, inspiration sources, and friends, your stories will be every bit as remarkable as I think you are. And that is pretty damn remarkable.

When I look back on things, and I allow myself to think that I may have already found the story I was meant to tell, and told it at Glenn’s wedding, I allow myself a wonderful smile. That knowledge won’t stop me from writing more. That knowledge won’t prevent me from trying to publish stories, articles, or novels. All that memory tells me is that I once created something that brought grown men and women to tears. I had managed to move them. I had managed to stir their emotions and have them hang off my every last word. That is indeed the ultimate goal of all art; to wrestle emotion. I can be content knowing I did that at least once in my life. Deep down though, I know I’m not done doing it. My story is still out there hoping to be told. I hope to read yours as well.



33 thoughts on “Every Artist has Their Opus

      • Very very good thing…you are such a gifted writer and really I had no words, just emotions after reading your post. Made me teary actually. And that’s a good thing too 🙂

      • Wow. Thank you for the incredible compliment. I’m flattered. I hope I continue to live up to those standards.

      • You’re welcome…it’s nice seeing passion put into words. It’s why I enjoy reading others’ stories here…very inspiring.

  1. Interesting read. I am writing a book…initially it started out as my autobiography….but then I kept getting stuck, because several key characters, who also happen to be very well known, are still alive, and so I found myself compromising. A while, ago, I realised i need to treat the book as I do my painting. with much more spontaneity and so the book is now a novel, which is allowing me to free fall…to give the characters the richness and depth that I want them to have and in fact they deserve. All part of life’s fascinating journey. Have an excellent weekend. Janet:)

    • I can understand the need to take it from non-fiction to fictionalise it. Good for you. You obviously see the characters as more than just words on the page and want to give them that life.
      And a fantastic weekend to you as well (when you get there)

  2. That is just beautiful, Ger, and I suspect that your great, defining work is still to come. And I really hope I get to read it. I think your point about everyone having their own story is so true, it is finding that story and giving it a voice that is the challenge. There are days I think I have come to the end of my own personal story, then all of a sudden I feel that in actuality it is just beginning. All very inspiring. And for the first time I have come to your blog and not thought of food once! Oh, damn…

    • My story could be about food. There, I said it. lol
      Thank you for continuing to come to my blog and leaving comments. I also wrote a speech to give to kids for Reading Week one year. That might be my defining story. But I’ll still try to write.

      • I’m starting to think that my story might be about food. More and more it seems to be what defines me. I’m proud of what I’m producing on my blog and whatever but it’s not my magnum opus. What if it really is my destiny to wax lyrical about steak? Oh I could really do with a steak right now. That’s it. My life’s great passion is steak. 33 years to come to that conclusion.

      • Ha! Well, ok. I was just hoping there might be more to it than food, you know? I can live with that, of course. I was kind of hoping to have a philosophical awakening but, nope, it’s all about what I can get in my mouth.

  3. I truly enjoy reading your blogs. I am jealous of people like you that are able to put their thoughts into writing. I struggle with that.

    • Thank you very much, Misty. I struggle with it too. I just kid myself on some days. Putting them down is easy. Letting other people see the shit I spill is the hard part.

  4. For me, my story is one that will one day make a young woman (or man – I’m not picky) say, “This. This is what I want to do with my life. I want to write.” It would be an added bonus if my story made people feel like they were less alone in the world, like they could chase their dreams fearlessly and succeed despite all odds.

    I guess I want to make people feel the way Robin Hobb makes me feel after I’ve put down one of her Fitz books – that I’ve spent some quality time with a great friend on his many adventures. I want to make people cry the way I cry at the end of Fitz’s story – not because it’s a sad ending, but because I won’t get to spend time with my friend anymore. (Side note: she unexpectedly announced another Fitz book to be released four short days before my birthday, thereby healing my broken heart.)

    I don’t think I have that story in me yet. I’m still too new and fresh for all that (at 29 – ha, clearly I think I’m going to live forever.) But maybe I need to uncover that story by writing other ones.

    And I very much look forward to reading the story that’s in you someday. Get on it. I’m almost 30, for God’s sake.

    • I am still searching for that moment someone says something like too. Your writing does that to me Jen. It has for 10 years now. Some day soon, it will do that for someone else.
      Is that a hint for a birthday present? I can have it shipped if you give me your address.

  5. I often told the stories that I had read to other people……. sometimes to entertain them and sometimes to prove a point……… the stories are many and they will keep on coming…… have a grand time telling them….. 😛

    • Do I think some people write for recognition?? Umm, possibly but I’d hate to make that assumption about anyone. I’ll be honest with you. Do I like it when someone reads my blog and comments and says they like my writing? Absolutely. Do I cringe when someone says it sucks? Absolutely. I am flattered an honoured that James nominated me for that award. When I’m here longer, I’ll probably nominate people as well.
      I left my last blog, where I was getting hundreds of views a day, because the environment there was really toxic and people were always writing blogs about other bloggers and it was very bad. I just want to write and read other writers. If I can make someone want to read more of my work or possibly consider writing themselves … that is awesome.

      • That’s the best way of seeing things ! It is important to find a balance, between being happy receiving feedback (but not chasing after them) and writing because it makes us happy and maybe, inspiring people as well like you said.

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