Have you ever had someone in your writer’s group just not “get you?”
Have you ever had such a bad critique or Amazon review that you wanted to crawl under the nearest table?
That’s part of the artist’s life–that your writing, your song, your art, isn’t for everyone, but when it happens, it’s still difficult/frustrating/embarrassing/disappointing/there aren’t enough adjectives in the world to describe just how hurtful it can be.
I’ve come to realize that when someone doesn’t get you it’s just discordant harmonies.
Let me get practical– if you have to guitars in a room and you pluck a G string on one of the guitars you will actually notice that the other untouched guitar G string will begin to vibrate.
Like calls to like.
This morning I reread a self-help book I really love called, Bounce Back, (I’m a self-help junkie) and I came across this term: sympathetic resonance theory. It’s used in music and has lots of scientific, health and technological applications including biofeedback, helping to reset irregular heart rhythms and research in sound waves for military application.
A quick wiki definition is this–sympathetic resonance: ” …a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formerly passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness.”
The Center for Neuroacoustic Research shows that the government has long been studying the effects of sound on the brain. Jung called it our collective consciousness, but there’s something to the ancient sounds that call to us.
NASA has space recordings that are eerily similar to the primordial, nature and organic sounds found on our own planet. Sounds and rhythms repeat and mimic throughout our universe. According to the Center for Neuroacoustic Research, “Dolphin/ocean sounds, slowed down 64 times, sound very similar to human voice sounds and some of the Voyager I and II space recordings. Normal dolphin sounds speeded up two octaves sound like birds. Seagull sounds slowed down two octaves, sound like dolphins. Human voice sounds speeded up, sound first like birds and then like dolphins, etc. – all with a powerful effect on the subconscious mind.”
We’ve been playing with sound to alter or enhance our state of consciousness for thousands of years. The Chinese gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, bells, religious chants, Indian tambour drums, African and Middle Eastern drums and doonbeks, based on the “tonic” note are sounds we are drawn to. Why? Our brains crave certain tones and beats. These tones can soothe us or agitate us.
What’s that got to do with creativity?
When it comes to art and creativity, whether it’s an author or a musician or a visual artist, not everyone is going to get your art.
They’re just not.
We long for readers. We long for listeners. Appreciators of our paintings, sculptures, but know that you will always, always have a few that adore you, a few that abhor you, and a large percentage that just don’t care. Art of all kinds is subjective. Your music, your words, your painting, it’s not for everyone. The more you are authentic the more you will distinguish yourself and your audience. Not just music, but all art resonates at a different wave length. We cannot deny that certain music, art, or writing either soothes or agitates us–just like sound waves.
Likewise, we long to find other creative souls to “bounce” our ideas off of (interesting, that turn of phrase), and yet we oftentimes find ourselves at odds with other creative souls. Is it jealousy? Not always. Sometimes they’re the F to our G. Either can make lovely music, just not together. No right. No wrong. Just different songs.
Surrounding ourselves with a tribe, with folks who get us (our harmonies) those who challenge us in a good way, who are on somewhat tandem journeys is important and even crucial to our development, but occasionally we’ll come across someone who is our counter in the most destructive of ways. They cause us to doubt. They feed on our worst qualities and we spend far too much time enmeshed in drama and not creating at all. We have much to learn from them, and they from us, but they do not need to be a part of your tribe. They actually sap your creative energies. Only you know who they are and how much time you need to walk with them, to learn what you need to learn, and when to recognize that your time together was just that–for a time.
All of art has a resonance. It will bong like the clapper on a bell. Your tribe, your readers, your listeners, your viewers will know in their bones that you speak their language, or in the example/metaphor at hand, sing their song. It’s okay that there are G books and G songs in this world as there are F books and F songs.
There is room in this old world for all our songs.
Bounce Back by Karen Salmansohn’s
A cool sympathetic resonance sculpture: