Writing has done a lot of positive things for me, including enhanced my appreciation of art. I listen more carefully. I’m a more discriminating observer. I feel a kinship to artists and songwriters, especially up-and-comers, that I never have before.
It’s no surprise that participating in an activity gives you a greater appreciation for the dedication, expertise, and talent of those who excel at it whether it be a sport, an art, or a technical skill. I can appreciate the leg strength required for a dozen sequential fuetes because I studied ballet. I realize the difficulty of a particular piano or organ piece because I’ve played those instruments. I can gape in amazement at an outstanding catch in deep centerfield because I’ve played softball. And I can appreciate the depth, complexity, and detail of a novel, because I’ve written one. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way in understanding ‘it ain’t as easy as it looks.’
On the one hand, that understanding can diminish my enjoyment. At times I inadvertently end up critiquing rather than enjoying. On the other hand, my appreciation for those that have mastered their art has increased. And not only the appreciation of the work itself, but what it took the artist to create and disseminate his work. I admire the passion, persistence, and resilience required to succeed at nearly everything.
The day I signed a contract for Stay With Me, my husband and I attended a Dierks Bentley concert. We’ve seen dozens and dozens of concerts, but due to kids and money, this was only our second in a decade. Bentley put on a fantastic show, one that is memorable for us, but for him as well as it is the infamous concert in which a young woman vomited on stage. (I’ll spare you the YouTube link. You’re welcome.)
I don’t know Bentley, but his appreciation for his fans and all those who had shelled out their hard-earned money to see him perform seemed sincere. He seemed genuinely humbled by an arena filled with adoring fans. Although I have no measure of artistic success to compare with him, for the first time I had an inkling of what it might feel like for him. To hear thousands of people singing the words you wrote to the music you created? I can’t even imagine. Depending on the character of the person, it’s got to be either humbling or ego-inflating, maybe a little bit of both.
There may be a couple of areas of expertise where this idea doesn’t necessarily translate. Does brewing my own beer increase my appreciation of a good lager? And I’m fairly certain I appreciate a good meal MORE if I haven’t cooked it myself.
And in case you aren’t familiar with fuete turns, here’s a sample, because . . . Wow.
- If you write, paint, draw, or play a sport or instrument, do you find it’s enhanced your appreciation of others’ work?