Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Drawing My Way Out of a Paper Bag::By Angela Felstead

Before we get to Angela's post let me give you guys a little info. For those of you who already know her, Angela is married to my cousin. That's right--I, Bethany Wiggins, am Angela Felsted's cousin! She has a book coming out--a book of poetry.

Second, Angela (author of My Poetry Place blog) is an incredible musician. When she told me she would do a guest post on my blog and I could pick the subject, I was thrilled! I asked her about the creativity difference between writing and making music.

Lastly, Angela's book is on sale for pre-order here (go ten rows down). And here is an amazing video she made.


Drawing My Way Out of a Paper Bag
by Angela Felsted

First off, anyone who has read The Little Prince is likely familiar with this picture. It represents the difference between how adults and children see things, because where a grown up may see nothing more than a rumpled hat, the child sees an elephant inside a boa constrictor.

Since I am artistically challenged, I draw my elephants in a different way entirely. Poems are my sketches; music is my paint, and the emotions I convey are determined by my color palette.

In the first year of my marriage, whenever I got angry with my husband, I’d practice on the main floor and tear into the Walton Viola Concerto until music reverberated off the hard wood floor.

“Are you imagining ripping my head off?” hubby would ask, more conscious of the aggression in my playing than I was.

“Of course not,” I’d lie.

His eyes would go wide, and he’d get this frightened look on his face, like he was a little boy and I was his mother about to scold him.

Later, when I was calm, he confided that it scared him when I express my anger through playing the viola. I didn’t have to speak or voice my feelings when I put them into music. The sounds and notes I produced screamed them for me. Though I did not write those notes, I could bend them to my will.

Music was my conduit.

Poetry is different. When I write poetry, I decide which word goes where. I am the master and creature of my universe, even when the words I choose rebel and misbehave, even when I need to rewrite everything at least ten times. Please don’t get me wrong, Poetry is a conduit too. But being the one who patches it together, I’m forced to ask myself if the words I employ are up to task, if I need to tell the reader about my elephant, or if the mention of his tusks and trunk speak louder by themselves.

Sometimes less is more.



13 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I follow Angela and had no idea you guys were cousins. That's really cool.

I could almost imagine Angela's husband's expression (though he looked suspiciously like Brad Pitt in my mind) when she let out her emotions on the Viola. :D

Jessica Bell said...

I had no idea you were cousins! Wow! Angela is one of my favorite people and we've been sharing poetry with each other now for about a year. This is such a beautiful post, Angela. I especially love this: "Poems are my sketches; music is my paint, and the emotions I convey are determined by my color palette."

See, you're even being poetic about technicalities! :o) Stunning! Can't wait to receive my proper copy.

If anyone is interested, they can read my review of Cleave on my blog! http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/2011/10/amazing-book-by-even-more-amazing-woman.html

Michelle McLean said...

awesome post! lol and yeah, my sis and I would do that with the piano. I used to grab some Phantom of the Opera music and pound my frustration out on the keys :) And poetry is a great conduit as well. Can't wait to read your book :)

Angela Felsted said...

Thanks Bethany, for having me on your blog. :)

@Stina, My husband may not look like Brad Pitt, but I still like to pretend that I look like Angelina Jolie.

@Jessica, Thank you so much for posting a link to your review.

@Michelle, Do you play an instrument? It's a good thing pianos can withstand a lot.

Jules said...

Less is more in so many things about our journey. And something must be wrong with me I saw the boa that ate the elephant, right away. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Angie said...

Great post, Angela. It's very poetic. I love music too. Both words and music are so powerful!

Accidentalwriter said...

Angela, what a great article...so much conveyed in so few words. One of your comments...
'But being the one who patches it together, I’m forced to ask myself if the words I employ are up to task, if I need to tell the reader about my elephant, or if the mention of his tusks and trunk speak louder by themselves' - What an amazing truth I am sure this is for many who enjoy and/or are almost driven to express their thoughts. and............
'I didn’t have to speak or voice my feelings when I put them into music. The sounds and notes I produced screamed them for me. Though I did not write those notes, I could bend them to my will'.
...What an incredible gift this is...music can often express a message which words could never convey. Thank you so much for sharing....and I'll have a chuckle everytime I hear a Viola being played from now on. Best wishes. Jeff

Jim Murdoch said...

I am, of course, a long-time advocate of the less-is-more school of writing, Angela. Balance is the key, treating my readers with respect without feeling I have to explain everything to them as if they were idiots (a lesson some TV writers really need to learn) but also not expecting them to make leaps of reasoning without some kind of verbal trampet to send them on their way. It’s a hard call but some readers are, and never will be, capable of any kind of getting any kind of linguistic gymnastics and so they should look for reading matter elsewhere. No viola player dives straight into the Walton or, god forbid, the Bartók. No, they’ll start off with some Telemann or Bach and find their way from there until they reach the limits of the technical ability. And it’s the same with readers. Say what you have to say the way you need to say it. There will be readers out there who connect with it immediately, there will be those who have to live with it a while before making sense of it and there will be those who never get it. And that’s life.

Angela Felsted said...

@Jules, How cool that you saw the elephant right away.

@Angie and Anccidental writer, Thank you,and yes. Poetry and music are powerful.

@Jim, How I love your poetry. You have less is more down to a tee. May I someday be that good.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Love this! Music is definitely an emotional outlet in our family, too. For my husband, it's the electric guitar. For me and the kids, it's the piano.

nutschell said...

Hey i didn't know you gals were cousins! I follow Angela as well and you! great job all of you!

nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Caleb said...

Angela is awesome!

Clarissa Draper said...

Who needs to be able to draw an elephant when you can create such beautiful pictures with words. Great post.