Art is a hologram of all that is not art

9 March 2021
9 Mar 2021

One really alluring way for me to think about music (or art, more generally) is that it’s a holographic projection of everything that isn’t music that fills up life. Music isn’t a medium — life is a medium through which we learn to be better musicians and artists and filmmakers, and what we learn in life, all the emotion and the harmonies and the pain, we take that and condense it into this tight little piece of delicate soundcraft that is music. To be a better musician, it’s not simply enough to practice the instrument – you must life a live worth singing about, through whichever sonic medium you choose.

I have this metaphor that I use for good writing, that good writers are good writers because of all the things they do besides writing. Writing is just the last stage of the process. As I wrote in The job of a writer.

This imbues writers with an important responsibility. You are not here merely as storytellers or persuaders or educators or reporters. You are here to be the readers' hands and feet and eyes, reaching into the world for moving ideas and gripping stories. Take this responsibility seriously – go out and live a life of color, so that new feelings and insights swirl in your tinted lenses. And when you come back and sit down to spill those colors onto paper, may each action of your key bear those colors. May the action of your words transport your reader to ever more colorful worlds, because that, ultimately, is the job of a writer.

Art is the compressed hologram of reality that reflects all else that is not art.


Thanks for a thoughtful email by Austin Chen (you know who you are) which inspired this note.


Questions in science, questions of science

Artists and creative work as vehicles for ideas