Some artists escape by fashioning alternate versions of their story, never actually telling it perfectly, always leaving a bit of mystery in the center, always working their way around and around the one truth they know, but maybe these artists are doomed too as they will always fall short…
Though I don’t agree completely with the one-story-only theory, I do believe that each artist has a limited amount of ways to portray any single given archetype within their sphere of art, with each attempt a facet of a perfected portrayal. As alluded to in the quote, the artist has a choice (though not always a conscious one) of spending a lifetime drafting an incomplete version of their truth, or of crafting one version that is crystalline in its perfection.
I certainly feel that way about songwriting. I used to specialize in a particularly jilted sort of breakup song that I spent most of my time writing and re-writing. Suddenly, early in 2005 i wrote “Regrets,” and I was suddenly no longer bound to tap and retap that archetype for my material. Since then my songs have expressed a much wider array of emotions – I freed myself by closing a door on a particular story.
Penning that perfect story is a frightening concept; what if you finish it too soon? What if you don’t have any other important stories to tell? Yet, as daunting as those questions are, if you let them handicap your creativity you’ll never attain that perfect story. And that means you’ll never get to try your hand at its sequel.