I told one of my favorite people in the world that I was going to call it an early night tonight. And I was. I was in bed, wearing my ridiculous mint green matching-top-and-bottom pajamas by midnight. I was snuggled and ready for sleep to claim me.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
But then I started listening to Over the Rhine. And suddenly the muse claimed me and I had to get out of bed, ridiculous PJ's and all, go down to my piano and write. See, when that happens, it is a case of whistle and I'll come to you, my lad. I can't say no. I can't simply roll over and expect it to happen another time. You know, when it's more convenient. Maybe when I look less ridiculous. Maybe when my feet aren't quite so cold. Nope, when it calls like that, I simply must acquiesce. Sure, change out of the pajamas if you want to (I didn't), turn on the space heater if you need to (I don't own one, though I wish I did--my feet are really cold), but go. Write.
It was that Something, Someone, muse--whatever you want to call it--that got me up and out of my bed late at night to write my first poem. I still remember the first line,
Soft as a pillow, yet hard as a rock...
Okay, so it doesn't make so much sense now, but at 9 or 10 I thought it was quite profound. And after finishing the poem, I was glad I had gotten up, glad I had taken up my pen and sat at my parent's kitchen table and written.
But see, something happens when I finish creating--especially when writing a song, actually. It's like I've emptied out all of my contemplations and creative inspirations into the melody, lyric, and chord progression and have nothing left to give. Like if I were a blood donor, I would have been notified that I had just given an almost dangerous amount of blood and had to simply sit and restore for a while.
And so I do. Or rather, don't. Do restore, don't write. You know what I mean.
And that is why it somewhat surprises me when I write again. I thought I had already given all of it; I didn't know there was more. But thank God there is.
Does this sort of thing happen to anybody else?
Oh, but let me say one more thing: I am a firm believer in putting a demand on your gift and simply exercising it regularly. So you don't feel that special muse romancing you at night, filling your head with lyrics that rhyme effortlessly and chords that fit together all neat and scientifically accurate like a jigsaw puzzle. So what. You are an artist, do what it is you do; or even what it is you wish you did. Even if for a time, it has to be done without feeling the poetry of it.
But I must say, it is really nice when you feel the poetry; when you feel the momentum building inside of you to the point where you couldn't not write a song if you tried. Or painted. Or danced. Or told a story. Or creatively solved a problem. Or told a joke that made someone laugh so hard that they didn't need to do ab work for a week. Or whatever it is you do...