Monday, June 20, 2011

Creative Psych and Transference

What a wonderful, thought-provoking post, I came across recently courtesy of author Daniel Levitin’s tweet about it. I wish I had the time, insight and wherewithal to write about topics like “The Artist’s Battle Within”

Essay like this fascinate me, and I’ll certainly be paying closer attention to Professor Woody’s work, including his wonderful blog: Being Musical, Being Human.

As for the aforementioned essay in particular, I agree that there are shared traits among creative people regardless of the media in which they work. (Hey, do landscapers get no respect? They’re certainly equal to chefs in my book ... and I’m not dissing chefs). But I’m not sure we’ve seen much evidence that the application of that orientation crosses disciplines all that often. Yes, throughout history, there have been some legitimate “Renaissance” men and women, but not too many Leonardo’s in the writing set as far as I can tell.

Even as someone with at least a rudimentary skill as a wordsmith and some experience as a historian, I’m hard-pressed to name any literary greats who showed a gift for music, and more significantly (especially given modern inclinations) equally few who have made an equitable transference from musician to literati – and it’s not for lack of trying. Perhaps Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen make the cut, but (a) even that’s debatable and (b) they’re in sparse company.

What do you think? What musicians – if any, modern or old – have distinguished themselves as literary lights, too – or vice versa? (And please don’t say Jim Morrison, I’m being serious here.)

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