Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Magic of Creativity

My friend Sarah Class

Twilight yesterday found me on the phone with Sarah Class, my brilliant friend who also happens to be one of the most talented composers, musicians and singer-songwriters I know. (A lot of superlatives, but you have only to visit her space on the web to see what I mean. Click here to listen to "Aurora, Cantamos", the chorus of "Northern Shore" or any of her other works - I invite you to be blown away.)

Sarah is British, and I've spent a lot of time with her across the pond sitting by rushing rivers, in stone circles, and under enchanted apple trees as she picks out melodies on her guitar. Last night we got to speaking about creativity, as we often do. One of the things I love best is sitting in the company of musicians and watching them play. Sarah doesn't know it, but when she's seeking the muse, I watch her tilt her pretty blond head slightly, as though she is listening. 
Sarah in Costa Rica
It is as though the artist is a vessel, able to hear and then translate using their particular skills, something that is coming through them. A song. A story. A painting. And to me this process truly helps me believe that there is indeed something beyond our imagining that exists "on the other side." 

It got us talking about the fact that creating is really a form of channeling. I'm sure there are writers out there who believe that their work is purely their own, and while that may be the case for them, but I can't help but find that a little egotistical. I have not yet created anything that I didn't feel was given to me by something beyond myself. 

Does that make sense? 
When writing Faery Tale I felt as though there was someone standing over my shoulder. Sometimes at night, the presence grew so strong that on my second pot of coffee at three in the morning paranoia took over and I had to ask them quite crossly how did they expect me to get anything done with all this hovering?

Where do ideas come from? 
Where do haunting melodies come from? 

Some might argue they come from our brains, but for me, brain is for the revision process, not the process of raw creation. The best art comes when we're able to quiet the brain and see through the heart. We see, we hear, we listen. It's that bright spark that has an emotional pull behind it that reminds us of the soul behind it. 

Even as I struggle to birth this historical novel, I remind myself that I am only, after all, struggling to listen. If I could not work with the muse, with my "partners in spirit," I would have no desire to write at all. Because to create in this way is truly to live a magical existence. There is something, or perhaps someone(s) that lays the path before me - a book that catches my eye, a story in the news. A feather. A phone call. I follow the clues. I shut the door. I sit, and I listen. And I wait. 

Sarah is one of those people who reminds me that I've touched that magic before and I can access it again, and for that I am eternally grateful. I wanted to share our conversation because I believe, if you are trying to create something, this idea helps take some of the pressure off. Yes, you must work to hone your physical skills, your tools. You cannot sit and expect to play a concerto if you have never touched the keys. But the largest part of it is opening that pathway wherein the magic rushes in. And to be grateful for it. And to share that with the world, that is the greatest honor - so that something is translated from spirit. And others can feel it too.