My grandpa recalls the same stories every time I visit them when I’m back in Minnesota. The favorite black flowered dress I would wear for days on end. The hours I’d spend playing dress-up with my grandma’s jewelry & heels. Watching me play in the mud puddles with my brother as he plowed the field in our front yard.
As he was reminiscing these stories yet again he said “You were always an adventurous little girl, up for anything. You’d jump right in.”
I remember a lot of experiences & events from my childhood, but I don’t remember a lot of who I was a child. Perhaps that’s because when we’re 7 we don’t analyze ourselves like we do when we’re 27. I think we’re our truest selves before age 10. After that we have to fight for our inner child.
But I hope that adventurous little girl always speaks up. I hope I have the determination to fight for the sense of innocence & idealism that keeps her alive; the spirit that’s not afraid to be bold.
Do you remember who your inner child was? The one that wasn’t afraid to be?
It’s Sunday evening. A pleasantly cool spring breeze drifts in through an open window. 12 no longer strangers, not yet friends have broken from conversation to indulge in what, for many of them, is a first love. Some are trying to make it, others gave up on that dream long ago, & still others never wanted that in the first place. But for this moment in time music brings them together.
In a city like Nashville where at times it seems that every second person you meet is a “wannabe rockstar,” social gatherings can be filled with a lot of pretense. You may be picturing a room full of these “wannabes” & thinking that’s no place you’d want to be. I wouldn’t either.
But every so often, you stumble upon true artists. Musicians who are not only extremely talented but who would create music even if they never earned a penny from it. Musicians who write songs & pick up an instrument because it’s in their blood. Music is art for them & art is life. Put people like this…people to whom music is sacred…in a room together & pretense disappears.
Those are moments like that Sunday night when strangers, united by a love of music, become friends. Moments when each artist’s talent is celebrated. When it’s not about a spotlight but about collaboration…a challenge to see what kind of a freestyle song the group can create together…in the moment. A song that will likely never end up on any record or be sung from any stage. Yet it is art. Perhaps even art in its purest form.
This pure art is what inspires me. It’s what makes the hair on my arms stand up, takes the breath out of my lungs, & leaves me fighting back tears. And when I stop to think about why I’m left with one answer: vulnerability. In those moments of raw creation emotions are vulnerable, hearts are put on the line. It seems to me this group of almost friends understands the sacredness & beauty of such moments, & doesn’t take their power lightly.
It’s experiences like this that remind me at my core why I believe in the power of beauty & art. Why I believe that beauty & art are sacred gifts. And why I believe that we as artists have a responsibility to employ them.
“We never noticed the beauty because we were too busy trying to create it.”
I read that somewhere the other day. And although I don’t remember where, it stuck with me. I think it stuck because I was convicted.
We live in a “hustle” society. Like focused work horses with blinders on, we set out to do the work. Finish the to-do list. Create the next great video. Write the next great story. Paint the next great work of art. And amidst all of it we are on a hunt for inspiration which can exhaust us at times.
But I wonder what would happen if we simply stopped.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying work isn’t necessary. Good ideas are meaningless if we never do anything about them. But I wonder…if we slowed down a step to notice the beauty around us would we discover inspiration happens naturally? Instead of trying desperately to create beauty could we more simply reflect the beauty that has soaked into our souls?
I realize that’s easier said than done when we’ve got overflowing calendars & alerts that remind us when we’re supposed to be creating beauty. But I encourage you to find ways to train yourself to notice the beauty.
Then, come back & share your tips with the rest of us :)
When I was a child I had big dreams. I created with abandon. I didn’t care what people thought. Somewhere along the way I learned that creating & dreaming meant risk and that risk was bad. And that everyone would simply laugh at me if I failed. And they encouraged me to just do what was safe. And so I did.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard a musing similar to that in the last couple of months. It makes me kinda sad. I think it’s great that we’re aware of our society’s tendency to kill creativity and that we want to try to change that that future generations. But how? (full post here)
I’m still asking that question. Suggestions?