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Bliss in the Creative Process

Certain activities bring me to a state of inexplicable bliss. Time melts. My body, especially my hands, take over and my mind readjusts to a meditative state where it all happens without the awkward and clumsy deliberateness of my brain in charge. Instead, I pass the reins of control to my heart and soul. I find this place deep into writing, particularly a creative piece or an emotionally-charged one. I find this when I’m cooking, especially when I’m cooking from a place of intuitive imagination rather than the step-by-steps of a recipe. I find this place when I’m on the yoga mat, practicing an un-sequenced routine to some of my favorite music. Like dance, the music steers me through static and dynamic asanas, my breath charging every movement.

I have read quotes from many artists, especially those in music, describe this ethereal creativity during the creative process. In song-writing, sometimes it starts with a beat or a phrase that becomes a refrain. It can be difficult to describe because creativity on this level can be inherently illogical. For visual artists, sometimes a particular color, shape, depth, or perspective can drive a new expression. The process is so individualized, not just by the artist but also by individual creative pieces.

My creative process differs, depending on the piece. I’m also the type of writer who jumps between different works. Sometimes, a piece needs to stew and that’s an important phase of the creative processes. Even if I’m not actively working or writing on a specific project, I’m still mulling it over while working on other things. I’m thinking about it. When I get back to my keyboard, I can allow the creative force to take over, and then I can think about it some more, afterward. I can best describe this process as a wax on/wax off approach.

This works, however, only when true fundamentals are mastered, at least in my humble opinion. Only when you know what you’re doing are you free to let go and let instinct take over.

I recently purchased a keyboard. As a child, I played the piano, albeit not very well. My grandmother taught me and I vaguely remember taking it in middle school as an art elective. Muscle memory amazes me. I can still clumsily play the beginnings of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” and I do remember the mechanics of reading sheet music, but over twenty years of missed practice leads to beginner skills. I would love to find the creative bliss in front of a piano, but frankly, I need to work on my sight-reading and scales before my fingers can get lost in the keys. I can get lost today on the keys, but it’s not beautiful, at least not yet.

I was also motivated to purchase this keyboard because of my children. Since I placed it in the living room, both of my children love playing with the piano. Hazel naturally gravitates towards the high notes. Her playing with the keys sounds like a trill of staccato high notes, dainty and feminine. On the other hand, Maggie is all about that bass, no treble. She’ll press down booming chords, as low as she can go. When they play together, an improvised duet, Maggie’s bass chords surprisingly compliments Hazel’s soprano notes. At this stage, I let them play however they want. When they get older, they can take lessons if they’d like. For Maggie, this could possibly become another tool for communication, perhaps a range of notes creating meaning. I don’t know. I think that my children can figure out their interests and I can only encourage piano as a possible medium for creative expression.

In the meanwhile, I’ll continue to practice and regain my piano skills, just for the fun of it and hopefully, I’ll one day experience the creative bliss in front of my piano keys as I do in front of my computer keys.



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