Reading Between The Lines

When I was a kid I loved the expression “read between the lines.” It means that there is so much more to be said than what has already been stated; acknowledge not what has been stated but what has been implied. I used to read books in school and sometimes I’d stare at the blank white lines in between the worded ones and I’d imagine all that the author didn’t say.

Now I know.

While working on a literary project this week I had to make some tough decisions about what belonged in the body of wok and what did not. In fact, while working on a musical project tonight I have to do the same. We often place so much emphasis on what is said in a particular piece of content that we don’t even think about what the author or artist chose not to share and why.

Editing is a ruthless process. At least, I am ruthless with it. You can have so much content and in the end favor concision over superfluous material. The final product is in the hands of the creator and his or her team, only to be shared with the public when it is ready for release.

Sharing was one of the golden rules we were taught in Kindergarten and now it has taken on epic proportions with social media. As Fabolous says “money ain’t the root of all evil now, attention is.”

For every photo you see on Instagram there are often 10 more like it in that person’s photo library. For every shot they took before finding “the one” they worked their angles and the lighting of the room to get it just right for the gram. Well, think of the editing process like that, except instead of it being your physical appearance as the subject it’s your memories and mind.

It’s a grueling experience to revisit past traumas and recycle them in music or in literature. Many tears are shed in the process of catharsis. It’s humbling, it’s heartbreaking and then the professional side kicks in. You remember your audience. You think about what’s necessary and sequential, and you make the appropriate creative decisions.

Reading between the lines is about interpretation. Just because words are laid out in front of you does not mean that all of the thinking has been done. Think about what the author or artist created. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not? How do you see it? Probe further and then the blank lines in between the worded ones can come to life.

The amazing thing about it, is if you do that, I promise you’ll see that something is there.

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