Musicians listen to music differently. They hear and understand more than the average person, by simple right of their musical gift, their training, and their choice of focus. I’ve carried on an intimate relationship with music all my life, and I’ve never understood how others can work with music playing in the background. I can’t tune it out. It swirls around me, catching my attention, engaging the same creative urges as my writing. And so, although I love music, I shut it out and work in relative white noise in order to pull from my mental pallette the colors I need.
Artists see colors differently. Their gift for art, their training and their focus all combine to make this so. They spend time getting just the right mix of hues on the tip of a paintbrush in an effort to replicate the colors they see. How do I know this? Well, I have an artistic gift, too. During the times in my life when I ignore my gift for art, the colors around me dull only to brighten again when I turn my focus toward capturing them again. The truth is, without training and focus a gift diminishes. I used to think my gifts were impractical. “Yeah, well,” I’d say when someone praised one of my drawings, “that and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee.” I drew such ideas from American cultural views about art and artists. In my living room, for instance, hangs a beautiful oil painting of a forest scene which cost less than the frame in which it hangs. I once thought of my artistic giftings as a curse and a burden. I now know them for what they are: pearls of privilege from the hand of God.
Writers understand words differently. We usually fall in love with them early through reading books and so cherish their melodies, their rhythms, their nuances, their tones of dark and light. Reading a poorly-written article is to us the same sort of torture listening to an out-of-tune piano brings to a musician. We might not lose our love for writing, but we can become dull if we don’t train our writing gift and if we fail to give it the focus it requires to bloom in full color.
Look closely at the picture of a rose. What colors do you see?