Friday, November 22, 2013

Written Word is Forever Performance

Last night I was in Pismo Beach singing.

It's been a long time since I sang with my dad playing guitar and I forgot how good it could be. I didn't remember how on I could be while performing. It really made me feel like I belong on stage.

That's odd...mostly because I am a writer. People don't think of writers as performers, but we are. In some ways it is a more difficult performance. A singer can alter her performance each time. A singer's worst performance might be ignored or forgotten if it is mediocre (assuming it isn't recorded), but her best performance can become even better in the warmth of memory (and shared virally if it is recorded).

The written word is forever.


It feels so final.

No matter how many times I alter my words, I still feel the mistakes of the first time, especially if those less than stellar pages were published.

I like performing on stage a lot. I like it for a lot of reasons. I like the flexibility and living in the moment. I like the rush of adrenaline I get in the moment. But I also like the finality of words. I like the timelessness and thoughtfulness inherent in crafting a story.  They are quite different and feel good for very different reasons. If all things were equal (meaning I didn't have to tour constantly and endanger my hearing on a regular basis) and I had to pick one, I'd pick the stage. In all seriousness, I really love being on stage. I am a performer.

But all things aren't equal. I can't run outside and find a stage (I'm not a street musician - the stress is too much!). I can't handle the idea of touring for months on end in a bus, living with a schedule that rivals most teens' wildest dreams. I'd become a crazed zombie. It would be ugly.

Writing, on the other hand, is my home. It's a homebody craft. It's something I can do at any time, in any place (at least in theory). It's effect might be forever, but it's also instantaneous. In a moment I can reach millions (again, in theory) whereas a stage performance will only reach as far as the last row of chairs. 

For these reasons, and the love of my inner ear, I choose writing. I choose forever. I'm that kind of girl.

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