You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
As I luxuriate in free time and start to really trust that I am on holidays, I find myself completely engrossed in various creative ventures. With complete freedom from a teaching schedule, from holding the reins, from mentoring, guiding, loving and problem-solving, directing and inspiring in choir rehearsals, and all together doing work akin to air-traffic control on a daily basis, I find my mind absolutely alive with creativity.
I am joyfully alive, and so happy to engage in playful conversation with myself, the world, and all those creative ideas which have lain dormant for months. Oh, the joy of realising that pathway back into myself is still there, despite the hammering my energy levels and creative being have taken through everyday work!
I find myself writing words and looking back on my experiences, re-living events, examining happenings, and honing my descriptions on a daily basis in a way that makes my own heart flip with recognition. I realise that I have been so busy, and so mentally and emotionally stretched by teaching, that sometimes I do not recognise myself in my words during the school term.
Just keep going, you know the drill.
Journalling now is pin-prick accurate. It is both enlightening, and lighten-ing. My mind feels lighter, like there’s more room and freedom for ideas to play and be seen. There is no protective film or professional work-front to get through; I can just be. And it’s not to say that I am two different people, but there is a treadmill and speed that comes from teaching which inevitably puts you into “teaching go-mode”.
Two speeds, on or off.
Being reflective and compassionate in my teaching costs every ounce of energy I have, and it is solely directed at the students under my care. I give my time and energy freely, completely in love with my work.
I am playing the piano as if I am painting my every feeling and emotion, every sound is a colour that I shape like words being formed. I’m not practising accompaniments, or hurriedly cobbling together a transcription, I am playing from the heart. My heart. I am playing and creating for the pure joy of playing, and it is intoxicating. Plus, those of you who know the hoops I have jumped through in the last three weeks as a teacher and accompanist will know that I also have a fierce ulterior motive for practising; a somewhat fiery determination to play + hone my technique (and sass) to play the goddamn arse off my Year 12 accompaniments. But I digress…!
I am composing as if I am speaking. It’s magical to be playing with a palette of words, like coloured beads, and creating a thread of sound which is both an expression of my thoughts, a message I want to bring to life, and a connection of music and living ideas. It’s slippery, frustrating work, catching and refining those beautiful, elusive melodies, and yet it’s a conversation I am absolutely, completely enraptured by.
And I look at all that I am doing; journalling, writing, reading, composing, speaking, creating and I ask myself: What right do I have to be this creative in so many different fields?
Yes, I am on holidays and I have time to indulge my creative self and spirit. But shouldn’t I choose one place to refine? One place to strive for excellence, and to hone my ideas? Why am I being so selfish, so carefree, so audacious with my creativity that I am squandering hours joyfully engrossed in everything expressive?
How wasteful. How audacious. How selfish!
And then I think: Why shouldn’t I?
I am not being creative to strive toward excellence, even though I know that if I do it for long enough, excellence comes off what I create naturally, like a heat and light that others gravitate toward.
I am being creative for myself. I have a voice that is fluid and alive in many different mediums, why shouldn’t I delight in using it?
It actually doesn’t matter if I don’t reach a level of excellence in anything that I do at this moment in time; the only thing that matters is that I create.
That I create because I am human, with a heart that works, and a spirt that is alive.
That I create because I feel, and that alone is enough for expression in any medium.
That I create because I am moved to do so, filled with inspiration and something to say.
That I create because it creates freedom, movement and life within my cells, mind and body, to allow new ideas to connect, and new understandings to form.
I am not creating for anyone. I am creating because I am human with a voice.
I can hold as many paint brushes, notes, sounds, keys, words, threads, and ideas as I want.
Create with quiet regularity and commitment long enough, with enough openness and courage, and excellence and uniqueness will resonate from my words, my music, my playing, my conducting, my voice, and my ideas. The authenticity will be unmistakeable.
Let me remember that I am creating for myself first, and if it resonates with others, then I am lucky and joyful indeed. If my creative and artistic endeavours gives voice, understanding, and connection to others, then what a privilege be allowed to affect them.
If I’ve moved someone with my creative work, well then, T H A N K Y O U.
For allowing me to move you.
I read an article this morning which got me thinking as to why I journal:
I am an avid journaller. I have written since I was 11 years old, when my Year 6 teacher said that I could improve my haphazard English if I wrote + read regularly, anything + everything, and that if i practised these skills, I could be as “articulate in my words + language as clearly as I could think my thoughts.”
What a magical idea to plant into the head of a precocious 11-year-old. What an extraordinarily insightful teacher.
So I became an avid reader of “anything + everything”; books, magazines, instruction booklets, recipes, wine labels (here’s where it started!), lolly wrappers, bread bags + cereal boxes.
And I wrote. Sometimes it was pages, sometimes it was a single sentence, but I always checked in with my thoughts. Glorious, haphazard, cascading words which tumbled from my mind + pen like colourful beads, threaded together in whatever way I wanted, in pure and beautiful creation. I loved that these words could resonate with my very being, I loved that I could actually make my language stronger + better, and I loved to be able to articulate the nuances of my thoughts in a way that allowed a myriad of new colours as I developed vocabulary.
Now…and I still write. I write for the pure joy of writing. I write because it allows me to see that passage of my thinking, and collect the value and worth from every corner of my thoughts.
I write for the flow of words…a thread of thoughts that sometimes don’t have meaning until I see them on the page.
I write to understand + to make sense of happenings.
I write, and suddenly I’m collecting hidden gems that never would have shown themselves in the flow of everyday thinking.
I have an empty page in which to “imaginate”, and ideas blossom + cartwheel across the page in wild abandon. I can’t do that when I’m thinking in a linear fashion, or when I’m in teaching-mode…writing allows me to shift into 3D; to see every aspect of a concept, idea, thought, or emotion.
I practise my words. I practise language. I am constantly learning how to “good speak the Engrish”! My absolute love of the sounds + melody in language comes from the fact I do not have perfect command of it; I have to work to discover it every day. Every day, my word-palette grows. My ears are awakened to new cadences + harmonies in language. I’m like a magpie collecting sounds.
I write and close my journal on the chaos, then I read it a few days later and marvel at how the chaos has suddenly become clarity, and that clarity speaks truly of what is going on in my head + heart, and what my next step should be. Sometimes the clarity is generous + full, other times I am stunned into silence, and I know I need to draw on my courage to take the next step. But there is never lack of clarity.
Often I write, and I never read those words again. They have been sent off, they have been set free…but some heaviness has lifted, some clarity of focus has been given to me, and I am blessed with the next step. I know what I need to do. The words have afforded me clarity, compassion, integrity + freedom.
It’s the draft before I speak in a conversation that I know will be hard…and somehow, the written words give courage + life to the ones I need to voice.
I’m allowed to put the puzzle pieces in order. Those of you who know me very well will know that when I am completely wrecked + exhausted, I speak like Yoda. Without the wonderful wisdom. That’s also a quirk of the “Engrish-as-a-2nd-language”!
I write because I have a message, even if it’s one just for me, that I don’t even know I need to know yet!
Another funny quirk of having “Engrish-as-a-2nd-language” is that as I write, no combination of words is off limits. So some of my most unexpectedly lyrical, perfectly surprising pairings and strands of words happen because I just write. There are no rules, no corrections, no requirements, no frameworks. The open page is a place where I can give my thoughts + words a place to dance in whatever way they want.
I write because I am a human being with a heart that beats.
I write because I absolutely have to create.
I write because I have a voice.