It’s all connected: story and song

cyndi-lauperStuff I’m reading [click through to the links for context]:

I’m reading girlejones at mynxii’s place:

The arts are the mechanism through which individuals of society express themselves, commentate and protest. It’s what gives individuals a voice and it’s a way for disparate groups of people to interact, engage, find one another and have dialogue. Giving voice to more than just one group seems like something more than a minor issue to me. If women’s stories and songs and voices are not important, then what does the rest of it matter?

And I’m reading cupidsbow [warning, Torchwood: Children of Earth spoilers]:

The more I learn about story, the more I think it’s the primary powerhouse of culture, and that it matters in ways that impact everything else. And to me, that means that art can (and possibly should) be playful, but it also means there’s no get-out-of-ethics-free card.

and I’m reading paecus at a related cupidsbow thread [warning, Torchwood: Children of Earth spoilers]:

I’ve had a similar (maybe even exactly the same) image of the role of the writer as an artist: a lonely genius, an original text. It was quite a shock, actually, to learn that everything’s connected and that texts don’t just appear but that they’re influenced by everything surrounding the writer. And "original" doesn’t quite mean what I thought it did.

I’m spoon-low, so this is a discussion prompt post. Anyone want to talk about story and song?

Categories: arts & entertainment, Culture, gender & feminism, Meta

Tags: , , ,

4 replies

  1. The “get out of ethics free” card is a good insight.

  2. Not so much music and song, but re Paecus’ quote, I’ve got a post in the works about science and the impression you get as a child that Everything was Invented by One Dude (except for the occasional dynamic duo like Watson and Crick, and Marie Curie who is the Exception that Proves the Rule.) But spoon low, too, for an ablebod that is.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this heaps lately, but I have so little writing time this week that I can’t let myself spend the time it would take to do justice to such an excellent discussion topic. Sorry, Lauredhel, for being so useless. One tiny thought:
    The lone genius is already far from alone when someone has given him the chance to learn to read and write.

  4. As someone who writes (amateur, fanfiction only) I’ve always known my writing was part of something much bigger. I can’t stop the books I’ve read and the pictures, plays and TV shows I’ve seen or the songs I’ve heard influencing my writing, because they’re part of what’s made me the person I am. I doubt any writer can. One of the things I’ve had to learn (and one of the things I think all writers learn over time) is how to find my own way of saying what I’m seeing and hearing, rather than using the words of others.
    I find a lot of inspiration in songs, in lyrics, in the way music makes me feel, and in the images it inspires. I often wind up writing short stories (and sometimes longer pieces) inspired by listening to a particular piece of music, and this is just one way the whole song/story interface works to broaden and deepen the culture we all share.
    I think it’s important to remember culture is shared, though – nobody owns it wholesale. This is particularly important to remember when we’re living in a culture where so much of it has been pressed into the service of money – music used to fill in the blanks between advertisements on radio, as a sort of aural chum; television shows created to sell advertising space and keep the viewers watching so they can be sold whatever it is; articles and print journalism used to fill up the blank spaces between the ads in the newspapers and magazines. We share our culture with the people behind the drive to advertise, to make everything profitable – they don’t own it. So we’re allowed to say “no, this isn’t what we want” on occasion, and stop buying to make the point. We can turn the set off. We can turn the radio off. We can stop participating in the view they’re handing us of our culture as something to fill in time, lure in the punters. If enough of us do that, if enough of us refuse to participate in a culture where the exploitation of other people is a way to sell advertising space and airtime, then hopefully things will change.
    So I’ll continue writing fanfiction (a definitely-not-for-profit creative output) and fiddling with ideas and concepts and adding depth to the worlds I love that others have created. This sort of thing has its place – it’s a way of keeping the mind active, of asking the whys and hows (and often answering them) and keeping the imagination alive. Fanfiction is on the same continuum as children playing “Power Rangers” in the back yard, or making their toys play out the roles in fairy tales – it’s a way of taking part in the culture, of sharing in it, rather than being apart from it. We all tell stories, we all sing songs, and we all share these with others. Every story counts, even if you’ll never be paid for telling it. Every song is worth hearing, even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket. This is the one thing I’d put forward as an important thing to remember: we all share in culture, and we all participate in culture – not just the people who make money from it.

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