So here’s the thing about creativity… it comes in soooo many forms, right?
The other thing about creativity, is we often fight it….. right?
Plus, there’s always someone better doing it… right?
These have been 3 massive blocks for me in my creative life, and no doubt they have been for you too. Conflicts of interest (“I’m a painter not a musician”), reality (“you don’t have time for this stuff”), Self-Doubt (“You must be crazy suddenly picking up your guitar and writing music at 40”)… But here’s the real thing: maybe all those things are true. None-the-less, why not just give yourself permission to explore it all anyways? Stop the criticism and doubt, make the time, and let it flow…
What are you resisting in you life? What is that urge or inkling in you that never seems to go away, no matter how hard you push it down? Maybe you have a poem or book to write, a song to compose, a painting to paint… give yourself permission to do it. You don’t have to do it forever. It might be terrible, but trust yourself enough to let it move through you in whatever form is calling to you. Maybe magic will happen, maybe not. Do it without expectation, except for the simple joy of creating it. To listening to your calling.
Believe it or not, it started in grade five. My teacher had a guitar, and the joyfulness I felt when we did music in that portable was so real. I asked my mom for a guitar for Christmas that year, and it was GIGANTIC. The salesman had assured her that I would “grow into it” but I never did (I grew a bit wider perhaps, but no taller).
It was not until grade 10, when a guitar class was added to our high school curriculum, that I considered trying to play it again. During that semester I learned the 4 basic chords, and simple strumming and picking patterns. Yet, still, my motivation waned. It felt so unnatural and difficult, and there was no song I could commit to without getting bored.
I tried selling the guitar when I was in my 30’s… but to my surprise, I couldn’t follow through on the sale; and in fact ended up buying my 2-year-old son a tiny little Fender too. Maybe one day we would learn together?
Something started to shift this year though. I found myself picking up the little Fender frequently. Instead of trying to learn new songs, or master any of the old folk songs I enjoyed, I just started strumming. When I would stop, my kid would tell me to keep playing. He was enjoying it. Then we found a simple chord combo we liked, and the next thing I know we were humming along to it. We had a tune! Yet the lyrics wouldn’t flow…
When I would sit and strum the song, I imagined myself running. Flying. Freedom. Yet, I was stuck. I could not get the song itself to take flight.
In October, I saw that David Newland was offering a workshop on “The Heart & The Art of the Song”… and with my own writing struggles aside I had a friend who I thought should attend (she writes/sings all the time). I myself was still in song-writing-denial at this point, but felt called to attend the workshop, and it was a game-changer.
I’m not sure I can even pin-point exactly how or what shifted in me after that workshop… but the next day the lyrics came through on their own accord. Truly, as David suggested, I just had to get out of my own way. The song knew what it wanted to be.
Whether or not there will be more … who knows. But I plan on continuing this joyful exploration of this new form of expression for myself… It only took me 30 years to honour it…