When Responsibility Stands in the Way of Creativity

Every morning when I open my kitchen fridge, I am reminded of the importance of creativity…

Like many of you, I’ve found myself with less time lately for creative outlets. The economy has forced employers to crunch down on employees, demanding more hours and a tighter workload. While this can mean job security for us worker bees, it does mean less energy and fewer hours in the day for exploring the creative mind, so in the end, the art is usually the first to suffer. Similarly, the first programs to get cut from schools are always the creative ones—art and music….

I find most of my best ideas come to me when my mind has the chance to flow freely without distraction from an assignment or a chore. With the hefty schedule I live, this leaves me with two times during the day to brainstorm new ideas that could contribute to the world’s collective artistic consciousness—during the drive to and from work, and while showering.

The drive to work has recently been filled with the sounds of “The Bob & Tom Morning Show.” There’s nothing like a bit of laughter at 7 a.m. to get your day moving. So that time’s now gone…. And shower time gets filled with thoughts like what I need to pick up at the grocery store, or what plans I have the rest of the week, etc. So, it gets me nowhere creatively.

What tricks do you have for finding peace? How do you give yourself the chance to quiet down and let your mind flow freely? What exercises help your creative juices flow?

Let’s get a conversation going, and maybe we can help each other out. Please feel free to leave comments below. Thanks!

Invoking Artistry

Upon brainstorming a name for my musical project with J, we have contemplated everything from memories of childhood, our favorite poems, other artists of interest, favorite seasons and places, colors, feelings, etc. This process is one of the hardest things for artists to do. It’s easier to write the music than to come up with a name to encompass it all!

So, what’s in a name?

A band name not only reflects the style of music being played, but it also sets the mood for the musicians’ style of dress, demeanor, photos, Web site design, performance locale, fan base and more. A name must be vague and poetic, yet memorable, without pigeonholing the music into a specific genre… And no one else out there can have the same name! (How frustrating!)

But as far as invoking the spirit of other musicians we like, through our sound, style and mood, we are thus far studying the works of Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Over the Rhine, Patty Griffin, Brandi Carlile and Sara Bareilles. If we can stay classy and sophisticated with an Americana roots vibe–though less jeans/T-shirt and more classic Vegas-night-out style (or more earthy haute couture)–I will be happy.

Ah yes, I can see it now… A fedora, a pinstripe suit and tie, shiny shoes, slicked-back hair… but not too tightly wound. And for me, a satin dress resembling a nightgown, bright red lips, wavy hair, high heels… straight out of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Filling the Cup

Before I was born, my mom had a psychic reading done for me while still in her womb. The woman told her I would grow up with a big heart and a “glare like shooting daggers.” …She also said that of the many lives my soul has led, this life is the one I will dedicate to motherhood.

Though without progeny of my own, I would have to say she was right.

I have spent my life nurturing friends and loved ones as a mother would, often carrying them until my boots fray, and the weight becomes too much to bear. I have also spent my life in the midst of creation–only truly happy when I am creating something from nothing.

Conceiving an idea, for me, is part of the art of giving birth to a song, a poem, a photograph or another project of worth. The final product, in a sense, becomes like a baby to cherish.

Fragile as it may be, creating a song can bring the joys of motherhood to the songwriter with the final stroke of a pen against a pad and the final resonance of a key…. Love can also bring the joy of creation to life, and when you love a song, the music can fill you until your cup spills over.

When you hold me, I’m a child in your arms.