Living in The Land of Make-Believe
The Land of Make Believe is not just a place in a Chuck Mangione song. For those of us involved in the Fine Arts whose job is to write words, it is a place we call home.
When we start writing, everything is purely biographical. We write about what we know, what we see, what we feel, what we experience. Each of the characters we write about is a mini-us. Songwriters begin as puppeteers, and the singers we write for are the hand puppets mouthing the sentiments we wish to spout, the words that best express our opinions and life experiences. These experiences and opinions define us, become our grandstand, our soapbox, our catharsis. We express ourselves with little care for whether our writing is accessible to our listeners. We are in fact so caught up in our self-absorption, that we believe with all our hearts that everyone who hears what we have to say will be drawn into it, fascinated by it, uplifted by it, taught by it.
In time, we become further defined by our influences: by those whose work has come before, by those whose work is currently popular, by cultural phenomena that touch, uplift and agitate our lives. We take a leap of faith from what we knew, what we were comfortable with knowing for so long. And we begin to climb that rocky path up the mountain of life’s experience, up and up to nosebleed territory, where the air is rarified. And at the top, we discover the reward for our journey. For there, right before us, we find that our ideas and preconceived notions have joined together with the influences of life that surrounded us, bombarded us, tickled us, kissed us, and wormed their way into our conscious and subconscious beings. They are our muse, forever commingled with ourselves. Past, present and future, self and out-of-self have been strangely distilled into a pure essence. And the essence appears to supercede all that came before it. For we are now writing from pure spirit and consciousness.
Certainly what we write contains elements of ourselves, but our words are woven into and bonded with and fashioned out of the conjoined experiences of all the people who have entered and influenced our universe. Fiction merges with fact, and becomes a third entity that is neither. And suddenly we discover that The Land of Make Believe is very real to us. For it is an amalgam of what is, and what is dreamed of.