The knowledge required to paint is to know how to put paint onto a brush and apply it to a canvas. The knowledge needed for a literate individual to compose is to put a pen to a piece of paper, or a set of hands to a keyboard. However, it is the creativity and uniqueness within the strokes of the brush, the color combinations used, and the clarity of the final product that makes someone an artist. Thus, there is no set, standardized way to be an artist, just like there is not only one way to compose. The only variable that must stay consistent is the self.
I have always enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. The idea of being able to find something to say in a creative way, regardless of the topic, assignment, project inspired me to write, regardless of what it was. Coming from a Fine Arts background, I view writing as art. You can say the exact same phrase in hundreds of different ways, allowing space and room for artistry within the variations. There are more than likely at least fifty different ways to say the simple phrase “I am tired,” “I am utterly exhausted,” “I need sleep,” “I can’t wait to see the inside of my eyelids,” “I am sleepy as shit!” I could easily keep going on and on. Thus, even when we are saying a statement as simple as expressing our exhaustion, the words we choose to convey the message is art.
When I am writing a long literary analysis, I enjoy leaving room for artistic moments within the way I write. Granted, it can’t consume the text, but the ability to throw in alliteration, imagery, or satire not only reveals the “self” of the writer, but it also allows for a higher level of entertainment or engagement with the reader. Thus, it is as if one is introducing themselves through their writing; they adapt a writing “style” unique and genuine to their self.
However, I participate in all types of writing, with the most frequent after literary analysis being fiction. I enjoy participating in the way a novel can be read (the art of a reading or of a specific argument can be applied here) as well as composing the art of fiction. I view words as art, not necessarily individually, but rather, the unique, powerful and interesting ways in which they can be combined, as well as the various, fascinating ways in which those specific sets of words can be interpreted by an audience. The same way one would compose a painting, and a viewer would interpret the painting. I firmly believe these two images go hand in hand when considering there is no right or wrong way for either act, but a message is sent and a feeling is conveyed. When we compose, we are creators, conveying a message, feeling or emotion genuine to our own “self.” Even the office worker at Betty Crocker writing the instructions for the back of the box on how to make a pan of brownies is composing in this way when considering that there is more than one way to say, “stir the ingredients together.” A specific image is created in our head from the influence of the words that were chosen. On a level above practical thinking, it is art.
I strive to make every type of writing that I participate in to be unique, creative and meaningful in some way. However, fiction writing is newer to me than analysis. Eager to learn more about creative writing and unsure how to do it, I randomly emailed a professor from my undergrad who had a handful of fiction already published. To my surprise, I became a part of a fiction writing critique group with seven other women within months after the email was sent. For four years now we meet and discuss writing once every month and I have learned more about the art of composing than I ever thought I would. Some of the women are mothers, some are grandmothers, some are poets, whiles others write picture books. Our spoken thoughts turn into a symphony made of all different instruments, yet, creating a beautiful sound. We all have vastly different interests, personalities, observations, and thus, writing styles. Yet, we are all using our own set of colors with our own paintbrush to make our own, unique brush stroke and compose something meaningful.
When taking this experience and placing it on an English instructor’s pedagogy in regard to composing, it shows that every person, every student has something to say that can be My philosophy on composing is that there is no right or wrong way to express yourself, as long as you are being genuine to your “self” and to the message you want to convey, making the art of composing truly beautiful.