The Benefits of Writing
A continuing dialog with Massimo Priviero
Regardless of who you are or what it is that you do, there are great benefits of writing. It’s shown how writing helps to rationalize emotions, to calm us down, even to improve our physical and mental health by lowering the levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
It helps us to see more clearly what we want to tell. The search for the right words obliges us to strive to give a logical sense to our thoughts, to focus the salient points of what we want to say and to give them the right weight.
If journaling is a way of writing addressed only to ourselves, there are also forms of writing that are made to be shared. For example when we write a letter and tell a friend, presumably far away, what is happening to us we are sharing with one or more people. We can also find ourselves writing for a wider audience—For example if we are thinking of writing a book.
Massimo Priviero, the Italian rock star, said of his new book, “Amore e rabbia (Love and Anger),”
I had just decided to indulge in what had always been an ancient desire of mine which can be traced back to the pleasure of dedicating to writing a period of my time on this earth. Putting these pages together may have been simultaneously the end of a long piece of existence and the beginning of a new one still to go.”
After talking about music , we go back talking with Massimo Priviero, 30 years of an artistic career in which writing had a dominant role, happily landed from the songwriting to a book, “Love and Anger” whose title is evocative of this path of introspection and self-awareness.
“The idea of writing has taken these months in a totalizing way.” says Massimo
Massimo Priviero—The benefits of writing
Therapeutic value of writing
Massimo, starting from your writing experience, from the lyrics of your songs to the book just released, do you think that writing an autobiographical text had a therapeutic value for you?
Writing a book and writing songs are two completely different things. Writing songs, lyrics and composing are activities that have a very strong instinctive part, which I really like among other things. Writing a book, I mean for example a novel or an essay, involves a daily routine and a rationality that certainly has never been very proper to me.
But if you ask me if the autobiographical value of what one writes can become “therapeutic” of course it can. If you call something therapeutic that starts from “you know better yourself” of course it is. However, this type of path does not necessarily become salvific.
Opening yourself up can also be a big deal for you, you know? Now, in my case, the music and lyrics of the songs I wrote and write often have an immediate charm for me. As if at some point you would open up without any hesitation and translate this opening maybe in a few minutes of a song that you find yourself staring at. Then, once you’ve done it, breathe hard and maybe move on. And sometimes even an act in some way “violent”, I don’t know if you know what I mean.
Writing to pages every day is a whole other thing and probably allows you a share of rationality in what you do a lot more. Then, if you want me to tell you that writing 360 pages of“Love and Anger” was also a clear therapeutic act that was so. Overall it was a whole new experience for me. Lived very well.
In your book there are passages that tell life experiences that are very painful, and that you never mentioned before, how did you experience the writing of these pages?
With a lot of emotion. Sometimes even I felt deeply moved but then enjoyed to tell even about the light part of my existence. You smile and you cry, you try to live to the end. This has always been my destiny and what I thought was right for me. Writing about very painful, sometimes dramatic passages is simply part of a man’s life. It is a destiny that unfolds in front of you and that you try to indulge in the best.
It depends on you for many things. Luck does not exist. Luck is for people who play lottery numbers. There are situations, opportunities, conditions, choices and there is a habitat with which you can have a hostile relationship and which perhaps conditions you. And there are first of all your choices.
But it’s a long speech. Going back to the book, this has a lot of emotional reversals in it, if you can call them that, and it was right that it was. Add that the choices I made in my life often didn’t involve escape or plan B. I lived for what really mattered to me, my window was open, and so any kind of wind would come in, what would blow in favor and what would blow back.
How do you feel about unknown people enter such an intimate sphere of your life?
As a gift to me. I do not fear this eventuality and indeed it is the process that concerns any person who makes his creativity or his art available to the world, call it what you prefer. My life is this. I’m strong and I’m fragile. As much as they are.
People who follow you often say they recognize themselves in what you write and that this helps them to make themselves clear and to overcome difficult moments, what do you think?
I can only be honored by this. And I always hope to be worthy of those who decide to approach me a little more. After all, this happens because I myself am very much what I write, sound and sing. Here, maybe this is felt in a particular way. There is little filter in my songs and as well, speaking of today, there is little even in “Love and Anger”. There is a lot of what I am in my writing. Falls and restarts. Dreams and ideals. Strength and fragility.
I never talk about medals or prizes I have even taken, for example. I do not accuse. In that way I would give someone a weight in my life that he doesn’t deserve to have, and this doesn’t interest me at all. I draw a picture. Without discounts to myself. But also probably with a little pride. After all, what I want more than anything else is that those who approach what I do take what they think can serve them even for a moment. This idea often makes me happy and gives greater meaning to everything.
About Massimo Priviero
A thirty-year career as a musician, a great attention to the lyrics and messages contained in his songs, a book written looking at the sea an introspective work that examines his life and in which everyone can easily recognize themselves.
“Amore e rabbia” (Love and anger), Vololibero Editions, 2019