I am reading Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Part One right now. I finished The Hobbit (which I loved!) and have dived into the Trilogy. I tried to read this while in college and really could not get into it. I had read CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and loved them, but Tolkien's was too intricate or detailed or something for me at that time.
As I am reading the tale I am struck by how hard it would be to ever divorce yourself from you life experiences and create any piece of art apart or separate from those experiences.
Tolkien says in his forward to The Fellowship of the Rings, "An author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience, but the way a story-germ uses the soil of experience are extremely complex..."
However, a few paragraphs earlier he says, "As for any 'inner message', it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical." Hmmm...
I think that "inner messages" are imbedded in all works of creativity. I think that because we bear the image of God we cannot help but leave parts of ourselves in our creative undertakings whether it be writing, photography, music, painting, sculpting, or creating a family. We leave our mark in some way whether subtle or overt on everything we design or undertake. I believe this because I see my Creator's mark on everything and everybody he's designed in the world around me. I see his power, his beauty, his humor, his love, and yes, his judgement. I see some of who he is in what he has created, it cannot be helped!
When I look at my children and their children, at the way Fred and I have decorated and arranged our physical surroundings, our music, and at the things I have photographed, how I photograph them and the things I've written I see parts of me and who I am in all of it. Sometimes it's unsettling. Other times I love it!
Therefore, I know that each time someone shares something that they have created they are opening a part of themselves up to others, subject to others' interpretation for sure, but an invitation to a glimpse into their soul. I count that as a privilege and never take it lightly and am forever grateful to those that open themselves up through sharing their creativity in some way with the rest of us. I may not like what I see or read or hear, but that is a subject for another time eh?