Leigh Morgan: Life, Art, Emotion and a Giveaway

I feel lucky to count Leigh Morgan as a friend. An attorney who specializes in family mediation, putting children’s needs first, she’s also a fourth degree black belt in karate. You’ll see by her blog what an amazing writer she is. She’s giving away an ecopy of one of her books to a lucky commenter – winner’s choice. You can click on the covers below to find out more about the books. I’ll announce the winner here on Saturday. Enjoy!

Congratulations to Amy R! Our Pick Giveaway Winner generator chose as the winner of  her choice of Leigh’s ebooks!

ART IMITATES LIFE EVERY DAMNED TIME (Or: Art doesn’t exist without life to give it context.)

Has any life experience made you so angry you said to yourself, that’s going in a book? How about a joyous experience you couldn’t wait to journal about? Or, better yet, has something very real happened to you, no matter how small or inconsequential at the time, that made you want to change the world or at least your small part of it?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes and you then wrote about it, took a photograph or painted a picture, made up a song, a dirty limerick, or even the perfect FaceBook quip or Pinterest post, then I think you’ve experienced art imitating life. Oscar Wilde famously said: “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” This may seem chicken and eggish in the premise it sets out to prove, and to some extent it is, but I believe the distinction merits a look.

I make a lot of stuff up when I write. Gallery photographers use different lenses to generate and saturate color, to shadow and show effect. Painters experiment with light and shading. Musicians and poets play with meter and rhyme. What they and I can’t make up, and I believe this to be true of others as well, is the emotional content. Artists of every stripe, even mimes and sidewalk shell-game artists, have to draw on and connect with emotion, or their art falls flat.

I used my grandmother’s name in the second book I wrote for a character who otherwise was a compilation of women I admired as well as the product of my imagination. When it came time for that character to die, the emotion was very real. That scene rings true. I cry every time I read it because I let a piece of my life bleed into my art. The character wasn’t real, not wholly anyway. The emotion was.

That same story has part of its genesis in a visit I made to a long term care and rehabilitation facility. My client, an elderly woman with no family and a large estate, was recovering from a hip injury. She was also being billed $6,000 a month to share a room and drink Ensure. She didn’t even have a walker that worked. Needless to say, I was a little pissed off. I got her out of there, but not before she was billed $12,000  for a  60 day stay. That little adventure spurred the creation of Potter’s Woods, a wholistic healthcare facility. I made it up. I created a way to pay for it in my story – it helps to have a spare billionaire – and I felt better. Now, Mr. Wilde will be right if said billionaire reads my story and Potter’s Woods becomes a reality.

I can only hope.

My point is that artists, paid, unpaid, known and unknown, universally pour their life experience and the emotion that imbeds itself on the psyche as a result, into their art, even if all that comes out on the canvas is the representation of a soup can. It resonates with some people. It leaves others cold. Yet, the emotion is real whether it paints a rich and textured picture or it wounds with its starkness.

That’s life, baby. And it creates art.

So, my friends, does life’s emotion influence the way you create or the way you enjoy art? I bring my own experience to my reading and often I read a great story a little differently than friends who read the same words. How does your life experience influence your reading, your art, your enjoyment of other’s art? I can’t wait to hear from you.

(Edie suggested I blog about a recent life experience of gratitude and loss that is still too near to be fully explored. Rest assured some portion of it will find its way into a tale befitting its magnitude.)

My your life always be filled with art that adds to it and emotion that nurtures it. Thanks for having me!

Leigh Morgan

http://bardintraining.com/

http://www.facebook.com/leigh.morgan.5817

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26 Responses to Leigh Morgan: Life, Art, Emotion and a Giveaway

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Leigh, thank you for an amazing blog. Your story about the woman in the nursing home made me sad and mad. I’m so glad you got her out of it.

    My art definitely imitates life. My books have strong women characters who don’t let life get the better of them – even when it tries to. And in my office I have artwork that inspires me. In fact, a print of a dark, tall and thin man playing a saxophone has been on my office wall for years – so I suppose it’s not a coincidence that I wrote a book about a dragon who changed into a man and played the sax. I just realized that connection now.

  2. Leigh,
    Welcome to Magical Musings!!
    And thank you so much for your lovely, thoughtful post.
    Art and life definitely mix in my novels, too. I used to be a teacher, so I’ve had a number of educator characters…and some of my favorite places and desserts have found their way into my stories as well ;).

    • leighmorgan1 says:

      Dear Marilyn, travel sure influences me too. It’s one of the best things about writing. I think as writers we’re always looking and running descriptives through out heads. It’s all good! And thanks for having me!
      Leigh

  3. Amy R says:

    Nice to meet you, Leigh. I am a reader and not a writer and I would say that I try NOT to read about the same things that happen in my life. I live my life so I don’t want to read about it. For example, I live with several people in my life that have fought and won the battle against cancer, are in the treatments or are on Hospice after their many years of fighting, so the last thing I want to read about is someone with cancer, even if it is a postive story. I want to read about the things I don’t experience on an every day basis and even things that aren’t real (I am enjoying paranormal romance more and more). I like reading stories that take me to another location or another time period. Thanks for the blog post!

    • leighmorgan1 says:

      Dear Amy, I’m with you! I still can’t read anything having to do with lawyers…uucckk! I don’t want to write about the facts of my life any more than I want to read about them, but I do draw on my experiences for emotional content. Edie’s paranormals are pretty awesome reads. If you haven’t had a chance to spend time with her stories, they are definitely worth a visit. Thanks for posting, and Happy Reading!

      Leigh

  4. Leigh,
    Lovely post.

    I agree that my life in many ways defines my writing and the emotions bubbling within my characters. But my writing is NOT an duplicate of my life though I probably should write a memoir–maybe. But no one would believe it so I guess that wouldn’t be wise. ;-)

    There have been times in my life when I’ve not wanted to read, see a movie, view art because it represented too well the turmoil or sadness in my immediate life. Then I don’t read those books, see that movie or view that art until I’m ready.

    Great post.
    Casey Clifford`s last blog was …Blue Moon, Kayak, Boat and a Mum

    • leighmorgan1 says:

      Dear Casey, I know exactly what you mean. I love, love, love great spy novels and I have no experience being one (unless one counts eavesdropping on interesting bits of conversations to steal and put in stories). I love to be swept away by great characters and exotic locations. I don’t want read or write a rehash my life. Love, loss, pain, joy, gratitude, mirth…these emotions don’t need to correlate to the facts of my personal experience to add texture and depth to my characters lives; thank God :) Thanks for commenting. BTW: You should do a memoir. ;)

      Leigh

  5. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Leigh,

    Welcome to Magical Musings! Isn’t it sad how sometimes people take advantage of others…just because they can?? It’s terrible.

    There are still some issues I can’t write about as the pain and sadness hurts to much. I dive into my paints for that :) I do write about things that are of interest or close to my heart. The close to heart issues tend to come out in my YA books. Maybe a more traumatic time?

    You books sounds wonderful!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Blog Tour for Family Blood Ties series – Vampire in Denial and Vampire in Distress!

    • leighmorgan1 says:

      Dear Dale, Thanks for having me. You sure are a prolific and wonderful group of authors. I’m in awe. How cool is it that you paint too? Having a creative outlet is so helpful when people or situations piss you off. I love to torture characters based on cretins I’ve met, it’s fun and I always feel better. There are experiences I can’t pull from either, at least not yet, but I’m glad there are those that I can. Thanks again for having me!

      Leigh

  6. Sherry Jacobs says:

    Leigh,
    I am so glad WisRWA brought us together as friends. I took to you immediately. You are a kind soul, such a delightful woman, and you make the most wonderful gift baskets, too! I am so glad we can keep in touch, even though we can’t always get together due to schedules, etc. I strongly believe that life’s emotion plays out into our writings in one form or another. When 9/11 occurred, I was too scared to write at the time because I knew my writings would be filled with hate, getting even, wanting justice, etc. and that is just not me as a person. I have always tried to be positive and always have a smile not only on my face but when I write, too, if I possibly can. Those long days after 9/11, I just could not write at all — as Alan Jackson’s song goes, “Where were you when the world stood still on that September day?” My words stood still. I think all of us just felt so empty and broken-hearted.

    • leighmorgan1 says:

      Dear Sherry, Thanks so much for stopping by, it’s always a joy to hear from you! I think everyone who writes approaches it a little differently. What works for one won’t necessarily work for someone else. I kept a journal from the time I first say the 9-11 t.v. footage until about a year later of how I felt, what I noticed, and snippets from newspapers around the world. It’s in a box in my dungeon (basement). I haven’t read it and probably never will. I don’t want to see the darkness of that first week or revisit the hit our Constitution took. Maybe some day I will, but I doubt it. Maybe my grandchildren will find it interesting. Some memories and some emotion should stay well behind and hopefully muted by time. Thanks again for commenting! Happy to hear from you.
      Leigh

  7. Beth Watson says:

    Great post Leigh. Life definitely influences my art, and sometimes vice versa. My future release is about art forgery. But like you said with the woman in the nursing home, I often pull life experiences that I would like to have had more control over into my books where I can rewrite the situations to suit me and to have a happier outcome. I was once so burnt out on traveling for my job I came home from a trip and cranked out a book in record time where the heroine inherits an airline and revamps it to run much more smoothly and to her liking. Ah, a girl can dream. Hopefully it makes it to print one day!

    • leighmorgan1 says:

      Hello, Beth! So glad you stopped by. Hope you get some good time at home before you have to jump onto another plane :). I’m sure your airline would kick-tail and take names. Art forgery sounds so cool…good luck with your newest book!
      Leigh

    • Edie Ramer says:

      the heroine inherits an airline and revamps it to run much more smoothly and to her liking

      Beth, you should self-pub that book. I bet it would be a HUGE hit with people who do a lot of travelling. The readers would love that heroine.

  8. Welcome to MM, Leigh. It is so true that we take what we experience, and put it in our work. I find the really small things end up most often in my work. Little details that (hopefully :)) bring the bigger things to life.
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Advance Reading Copies of The Emperor’s Conspiracy are here!

    • leighmorgan1 says:

      Dear Michelle, the small details are the best! You can add a touch of everyday to fairyland and make it more real just by using some small descriptives. Thanks for reading and for commenting…this has really been fun and it’s great to engage in this forum!
      Leigh

  9. bn100 says:

    Very nice post. Nice covers.

    • leighmorgan1 says:

      Dear BN, Thanks so much! My husband tells everyone who will listen that he’s the cover model :). Delusion is a wonderful thing. If you pick one up, or win one, let me know how you like it. I love to hear from readers, always.
      Leigh

  10. leighmorgan1 says:

    Thanks to everyone who came and spent time with me and commented! I’ve loved this :)

    Leigh

  11. Cynthia Eden says:

    Welcome to Magical! ;) Great post!
    Cynthia Eden`s last blog was …Jeffe Kennedy: ROGUE’S PAWN

    • leighmorgan1 says:

      Thanks so much Cynthia! I’m really enjoying the engagement with your readers. Such a joyful way to spend some quality time :). This site is lovely and so much talent bursts from the page every time I visit, and, it’s always worth the trip! Thanks again,
      Leigh

  12. Virna DePaul says:

    I agree that life creates art–both the life we’ve lived and the life we want to live. I enjoyed your post and love your book covers!

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