Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A Reader or a writer, which would you rather be? - Guest Post by Perry Martin

   As much as I love reading - - and I do love reading - - I'd have to say that I'd rather be a writer.  Why?  Well, in order to explain that I'll have to take you on a trip back in time, to the days of my youth when I was a full-time musician.

   When I first started performing in public I got a big kick out of the applause and admiration I received.  I mean, who wouldn't?  What a validation of your abilities; to be good enough to elicit a positive reaction from a huge crowd of people. Especially when you hear cries of, "Encore! Encore!"  It at once tells you that you were right about your own estimation of your talents.  It's also addictive and is probably part of what keeps some of our senior citizen rock icons going.  I know it kept me going for a long time.

   But I suspect there's more to it than that.  Certainly in my case, there was.  I know that, as I matured and started writing songs I began to be interested in how I was affecting people with what I wrote.  It wasn't all about me at that point.  Sure, it's still cool to be appreciated.  Even on a non-creative level we all like to be acknowledged for a job well done.  But now I wanted to know that I'd stirred emotions in people, made them think, possibly even affected their lives positively with my art.

   Eventually there came a point in my life when I realized that, as good as I was (and I had a fair degree of success) I wasn't ever going to be "the next big thing".  Music became a more of a paid hobby for me.  I still play once a month, and I'm a pretty dang good guitarist, but I needed an outlet for the creative urges that were still rolling around in my head.  I still wanted to affect people emotionally, make them think, etc.  And, of course, entertain them.  So, I decided to become a writer - - and I've discovered that I love doing it.  It affords me the opportunity to do everything I'd ever hoped to do with the songs I wrote, except now I have a lot more time to say what I want to say.  I mean, let's face it, how much can you say in 3:45 - - which is the standard for what they call "radio friendly songs" these days. 

   This is not a knock on songwriters who can do that.  Far from it.  I'm always impressed with people who can compress a whole story into a 3:45 song.  Country writers are particularly good at that.   I can't do that.  I admit it. I need more time than that. Which brings me back to why I became a writer. I want to take my readers on a journey and I want to spend more than 3:45 with them.  So, as much as I love reading, and listening to good music and well-written songs - - I'd rather be a writer.


In his long and varied career as a musician, songwriter and producer Perry has worked with such people as Lefty Frizzell, Hank Snow Jr. and Sheb Wooley. Over the years as a solo performer or with a band he has also been the supporting act for such show biz luminaries as the Bee Gees, Ambrosia, Little River Band, B.J. Thomas, Hal Ketchum and Lonestar - - to name just a few.

More recently he completed his first novel, "Pretty Flamingo". Based on actual personal experiences the book is essentially a mystery/love story that takes some very unexpected twists and turns.

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