Monday, June 4, 2012

Art That Touches My Soul

It's all about the story.

I threw my heels to the side and lay down next to him. They fell onto the stage floor with a bang and the sound echoed through the auditorium. The acoustics in that room always amazed me and sometimes I wondered why we even bothered wearing microphones.

He had the stage lights on, but dimmed so low that they almost looked like stars shining down on our faces. In the city, it was the closest to a starry night we would ever get.

We lay in peaceful silence for a few moments and I breathed in the scent of sets in the making, drying paint, and the dust of musicals past. For most people lying on a hard floor would be one of the last places they would want to be. Not for me. Nothing felt more at home than the stage and I could lie there for hours if I was allowed.

James eventually broke the silence. "So why this, Zoey?" he asked.

I answered him with another question. "This what?"

He waved his hand around, surveying the theatre. "This. Life of the starving artist. Why this life? You could do anything - but you chose this. Why?"

I contemplated his question for awhile, realizing I could have asked him the same thing. He had given up his goal of becoming an engineer and randomly decided to transfer to our crazy fine arts school to be a theatre geek with the rest of us. He could have been a wealthy man eventually. But he gave it all up - for this.

Sometimes I did wonder why I choose this ridiculous path in life. It was hard. Competitive. Painful. No guarantees. Yet here I was, unable to resist the sparkling lights and lying on a stage floor in an empty theatre.

The starving artist.

All of us could be asked that question. My roommate, the talented opera singer. My neighbor across the hallway who was also my arch-nemesis at every single audition and acting class. My friends on the other side of campus playing with cameras and film trying to get that perfect shot. The students down in the basements of all of the buildings with paint streaked across their faces and their hands going numb because they had been working all night long to make the picture just right. The people in the library furiously typing away, trying to capture the perfect words to spark someone's imagination.

My mind wandered to the countless night my friends and I had spent working on pieces for auditions, or belting out show tunes trying to pretend we were Sarah Brightmann and hoping we somehow were at least half of the voice she is. Or reading our favorite novels and walking along side the characters as they faced their doom. Or those late nights of Star Wars and Doctor Who marathons that never ceased to bring out the emotions buried within our souls.

This life was not simply memorizing the lines and delivering them to an audience. It was all of it.

It's what makes a person stand in The Met in front of a single painting for hours on end and never quite getting enough.

It's what makes the audience stand up and cheer screaming encore.

It's what makes avid readers wait outside of the store until the workers finally put the coveted book on the shelves.

It's what makes fans all around the world wait for hours in line so they can have the perfect seat for a midnight premiere, or return every single week to their televisions to hang out with their favorite characters.

"It's all about the story," I finally answered.

"The story?" James asked.

I nodded. "Art - good art, it tells us our story. Or at least their side."*

"The story," James repeated, almost in a whisper to himself. "Yeah, it is our story, isn't it?"

Inspired by my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel, Drama! 

*Line is taken from Todd Agnew's song "On A Corner In Memphis."

What art touches your soul? Tell me all about it this month! Send submissions to


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! It's the opening scene from the musical Pippin, and I was the stage manager for the show my senior year in college. That song depicts theatre so well!

  2. Hi! I found your blog through Meg's Mingle Monday. I absolutely LOVED this post! I read it a few times!

  3. I am SUCH a music theater nerd! Like love, love, love! I acted my way through high school and just fell in love with the stage when I was a little girl! :)

    1. Hehe I am too! I've been doing theatre ever since I was a kid - and I just can't stop!!!!

    2. Also- I was looking at some of your old posts and noticed the one when Darren Criss first came to Glee. I was a HUGE AVPM fan about a year before he was on the cast of Glee and when I heard he was going to be on my fave TV show - I totally fangirled. So I LOVE that you love him too!

  4. Follwing your blog, twitter and liked your facebook via Mingle Monday!
    Check me out!

  5. I loved this story!! In addition to musical theatre, I'm going to have to give a vote to Van Gogh. Even more so after the Doctor Who episode that you have yet to see SPOILERS SPOILERS DON'T RUIN IT FOR EMMY ARGH. Okay. Sorry. I'm back now. But yes. Van Gogh. And Monet, to a less powerful extent.

    But mostly I seem to end up collecting pictures of art that touches my funny bone. Like 18th century paintings of male babies wearing dresses and enormous satin hats. Or statues that have crazy eyes. Or Oscar Wilde teapots.

    Art appreciation is clearly not my strong suit... ;)

    1. Hahaha I hear ya! And thank you for not giving me spoilers. I HATE spoilers! lol :) But yes, I know what you mean by the art stuff. I LOVED going to The Met and seeing all of the paintings (Yeah Van Gogh and Monet! Although there was one artist that I really loved - but I can't remember his name! UGH!) but after awhile I couldn't be in there any more. Maybe it was because there were too many people. Idk. But I think that's why I love theatre and writing and reading so much. They keep my attention more than paintings and sculptures. I like paintings and sculptures, but only for so long.

  6. Hi Emily,
    Wow! I really need to think about the art. But I love your blog and I'm following you now from Monday Mingle. Have a great week,God's grace and speed!

  7. My church just had a women's event that I am part of a the event coordinators but always get to participate or get something out of it besides helping get it done. This one was AWESOME! We did a take on DIY and it was DIGW (Do it God's Way) and it was 4 classes. I found the most relaxing, story telling, art craft thing ever! It's called Art Journaling... I wish I could post a picture of the one I just finished the other night. Ooo I will twitter pic it to you. So cool! You use water color paper, I think that's what it is (or you can prep paper with gesso) and create art that is part of the journaling expression process, then you journal over it! I haven't had much time to do more, but I love it! So relaxing and therapeutic.

    It can be great after a good bible study!

    1. THAT IS SO COOL! Yes, please send me a pic. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see. Maybe that's something I can use with the teenagers for a youth event or something. I love being able to show God through art. It used to be such an important part of worship centuries ago because people didn't know how to read, and I feel like we've lost that a bit. Love it!

    2. Now that you have seen the pic, it's really easy to do. Get Acrylic paint a credit card or old plastic card, you drop the paint on the paper, then use the card to thin it out and dry quickly, use modge podge and a foam brush to apply the designs from newspapers, craft things, stickers ect. Coat the back of the designs, stick them where you want and then coat the tops with modge podge as well. It makes it smooth and harder to peal off. Then you get gel pens from a craft store and that will write smoothly over the paint and make it permanent. Very relaxing experience. You should use it for a youth event! I think they would love it! Gives them a creative outlet!

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  9. I'm with ya - it's all about the art. It makes life worth living. It gives us fresh perspective. It shows our deepest desires, embodies some of our greatest fears, and helps us express ourselves in ways that we would never be able to do without it. I lack talent, but I love art in all of its forms: music, cinema, theater, writing, etc. My only regret is that I don't take more time to appreciate it...I still have many books and movies that I simply haven't had the time to read.

    Very nice chapter to a story. Did you finish your NaNoWriMo novel?

    1. Thanks! This scene isn't exactly in the book but inspired by one of the scenes I wrote. I felt like these two characters would be the best at sharing why I love art in all of its forms. 1) Because they are characters in a story I created, which is an expression of art. 2) They are from a story, and they talk about art being a story. 3) They are theatre students, who live for art. So... YAY!

      Unfortunately the story isn't done yet. Boo. I got the 50k workds which is awesome, but as I wrote this story I realized it needs to be a 4 part thing. Which means, more work. Which is fine, just a lot to do. I tend to be long-winded so hitting the 50k mark for NaNoWriMo is always easy for me. Actually FINISHING the story is another. lol


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