New Column Debut: “Hear Me Roar”
Hear Me Roar: Creative Ways to Connect with Your Inner Artist
By Cheryl Allan Carlyle
From a young age, we’re taught that play is just for the young, that we are either artistic or we’re not, we’re told that art is something that cannot be trained for, only possessed through some twist of genetic fate. The purpose of my column is to silence the noise and doubt that robs us of our ability to draw out the Picasso, Shakespeare, or Tchaikovsky lying dormant inside each one of us.
I am a writer, playwright, and poet. Any art form that contains words is where I find my deepest and most inspired creativity. But it’s only been a few years since I began identifying myself as what I’ve always been – a writer. It felt so foreign. I felt like a fraud. How dare I put my self in the same category as Oscar Wilde, Virginia Wolfe, or Edgar Allan Poe? How dare I think my work holds the same weight and significance as theirs? But as I started to develop my own voice, I realized that every story, every perspective has its own unique value. It was then that my narrative began to shift from “how I dare I think my story holds the same significance…” to “why would my story not?” That shift, as simple as it sounds, was life-changing. It’s the shift that allowed me the courage to write a feature-length play that went on to become a fully staged production this past January. The difference between remaining stuck in perpetual self-doubt and having my work showcased in front of an audience was simply shifting my perspective on what it means to be an artist. Never underestimate the power of believing in yourself.
As I talk to more and more artists working in varying mediums, I realize how common this inner dialogue is. One of the actors in my play, who is a high school student and aspiring writer, recently reached out to ask if I had any words of wisdom to share as she pursues her dream of becoming a playwright. I will share with you now the same advice I shared with her: “…never let any perceived lack of experience hold you back. I spent years telling myself I didn’t have the right credentials to do what I was doing. Then, with the creation of this play, it hit me — writing is its own credential. It’s not something you can necessarily learn how to do. If you’re passionate and you write, then you’re a writer. If you write a play, you’re a playwright. It’s as simple as that. The best thing you can do is believe in yourself and the significance of your voice. No one else in the world can tell stories the way you can. There’s only one you, and your voice matters. Tell the tales that lie within you, and then share them with the world.”
The same advice can be applied to art across all mediums. Borrowing the words of the great Vincent Van Gogh, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Substitute the word paint in that quote with whichever artistic medium you work in, or are inspired by, and then apply it to your life. Watch how quickly the artist within you jumps to life!
Sometimes the term “art” can sound pretty vague. My goal for this column is to help you identify and connect with the various means of artistic expression. In doing so, you may discover new pathways to inspiration that weren’t as obvious before. Each month, we will explore a new artistic medium, and I will provide information, suggestions, and community resources to help deepen your creative process. I am also interested in taking a more interactive approach to this column. For example, is there a particular topic of artistic interest that you’d like to explore more deeply? What holds you back from fully embracing your creativity? Questions like this are vital to the process of discovery, and I welcome them.
In the time between now and next month, I invite you to begin exploring which artistic mediums you’re drawn to, whether you have experience with them or not. What about that particular art form speaks to you? Part of discovering our artistic passion is learning about why we’re drawn to specific expressions in the first place. Take some time, reflect, and you might feel the artist within you begin to wake from their slumber.
[Photo credit: (cc) Ronald Menti]
About the Author
Cheryl Allan Carlyle ♦ Cheryl is a native of Western Massachusetts who was introduced to theater at a young age, and whose love of performing arts has only grown throughout the years. Cheryl is an accomplished playwright whose feature-length play, The Weight of Silence, made its world premiere in Cape Cod. Her work has also been showcased at local theaters and festivals throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. Whether it’s local stages or the bright lights of Broadway, Cheryl has a deep appreciation for theater arts and the amount of work and dedication that goes into each performance. Cheryl is also Hilltown Families’ Theater Bulletin Board Manager, where she provides our readers with a bridge that connects our local community with the magic and wonderment of live theater.