Finding Emotional Truth: April 2016

yellow flower mary gauthier

Happy Spring!

I’m in the trenches with my book, arm wrestling big ideas, trying to makes sense of them on paper. The chapter I’m working on now deals with the concept of emotional truth, or story truth, as opposed to literal truth. It’s a doozy. Here’s some of what I’ve worked out:

“Extracting the true from the false is at the core of songwriting, and even when the writer works through fantasy and fiction, (and most of us do) emotional truth is the right basis of it. It’s paradoxical, but oftentimes the best way to demonstrate emotional truth is through made up tales. We use melody and metaphor to point to experiences that there are no words for.

Everyone knows fiction is fabrication. But everyone also knows that fiction and falsehood aren’t the same things. Enduring works of literature generate very real emotional experiences that transcend the place and time in which they were written. Ditto songs. Resonance is a sympathetic response, a heartfelt connection, and like stories, songs succeed when we believe them. This heartfelt connection has little to do with facts. When we love a song, we could care less if anything in it ever actually happened. The connection is not based in reason. It’s based in emotion.”

Here's an example of a song I made up, where none of the events happened, but the story is true: Our Lady of the Shooting Stars.

As always, thank you for being a part of my journey. This month I’m headed to Minnesota solo, and then Texas with Eliza Gilkyson and Gretchen Peters as part of the Three Women and the Truth Tour. I will be in New York the last weekend of Aprilwith Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk to run a trauma healing workshop we’ve named "Trauma: Embodiment, Synchrony and Finding Your Voice" at The Garrison Institute.

I hope to see you down the road! Visit for more details on my upcoming shows. Thank you!