Tag Archives: masterpiece

My Lifelong Envy of Artists and Their Sketch Pads

Regular readers of my blog might remember a couple of posts in which I talk about how other artists inspire me as a writer, even when their works of art come from other creative disciplines.

Musicians who can pick up an instrument, anytime, anywhere, and start playing beautiful music are mind-blowing to me. I am also in awe of singers who can not only carry a tune, but bring such depth and complexity to a song by smartly using their “instrument”. It is also a joy to behold when an actor can take a script and breathe such life into a role that I am able to completely suspend judgement and believe in a fictional character.

I especially envy visual artists who can take a pencil and a sheet of paper and produce picture-perfect images worthy of a gallery showing.

In high school, while certain teachers droned on in that Charlie Brown teacher’s voice, I remember looking over at my artist friends during class, pencils blazing over whatever piece of paper (or flat surface) was at their disposal. Blank pages were magically transformed into masterpieces with images of eyes, faces or pets from different angles, and all from the perspective of their mind’s eye.

There was seemingly no struggle to their process. They did not stare at a blank page, think hard about it, draw, erase, draw, erase and start over. It just seemed to flow out of them like they were on auto-pilot. They made it look effortless. Continue reading

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Could Robots Replace Writers?

Not too long ago, I was listening to an interesting report on the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and the types of jobs that could be replaced by robots. Of course, the occasionally insecure writer in me wondered, could robots replace writers and screw up my retirement plan?

While I am certainly not an expert in the field, nor should this blog post be interpreted as an expert opinion, the Pollyanna in me says if it could happen, we are probably some time away from that.

To me, a good story really boils down to three things: the reader, the writer and the story itself.

For a story to be successful, it needs to engage the reader and resonate on a human level. It needs to connect with readers on an intellectual and on an emotional level. The story needs to stir up feelings in the reader to keep them coming back for more.

To achieve that, the writer needs to tap into their imagination, their emotions, their experience, or all three. Plus, with each writer’s unique point of view in the way that they craft a story, additional layers of interest are created and the writer’s sense of style is stamped on the story, much like a fingerprint.

A good story could be a testimonial of human experience that discusses the strong emotions felt along the way such as the struggle, the pain and the joy. A good story can take us to a world we could only imagine. Good stories can also scare the crap out of us, play with our minds, or inspire us.

To do all of the above requires heart and passion. Continue reading

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How I Became a New Opera Fan

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhen my partner John and I met for our very first date, it was clear that we clicked given the easy flow of the conversation around the many interests we had in common. Both of us were huge fans of music, theatre, art, television and movies, among others. However, one area where we were at different places in life, was our appreciation of opera.

John had a clear passion for the art form, while I had never really explored it before. He explained that if I was open to it, opera was really a natural next step, if I already liked music and theatre as much as I did.

As far as I knew, up to that point, my most recent (yet limited) opera experience was Sweden’s pop music competition, Melodifestivalen, in which the song selected to represent Sweden at Eurovision 2009 was “La Voix” composed by Fredrik Kempe, co-written with and performed by Malena Ernman. It was a fun song that blended pop, dance and opera for a very unique and memorable tune. For me, the song’s chorus, sung in opera style to a disco-ish beat, was a great appetizer for the journey ahead.

But when it came to opera, initially, I had a number of apprehensions:

How will I “get it” if they are singing in a foreign language?
Much like foreign movies, in North America, operas are sub-titled, even when you attend in person.

Aren’t operas long?
On average, operas can last three to four hours but there are intermissions (sometimes two). (NOTE: For your first time, you might avoid operas by Wagner that could keep you there for 6 hours).

Won’t it be a stuffy, pretentious event? Will I have to get dressed up?
To go to an opera, you can get dressed up but overall, in Canada, opera does not have to be a black tie affair. People dress smartly for the event. As for pretentious, I’m sure you will find pretentious people at any event, not just at opera. Think about opera much like you would an art gallery or museum. People who attend are fans of the art form. Continue reading

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Filed under How to, Inspiring, Misc blogs, music, Theatre