Sunday, August 15, 2010


In creation, there are moments where the creator can see or hear that which has never been seen or heard before. These are types of epiphanies, I suppose. But at the same time, these moments mark measurements of growth that have occurred and, more importantly, the bases on which growth will spring.

Growth is a matter of change. No musician I talk with has ever not said that growing in the music requires listening to oneself and in a sense objectifying what is heard. I do not know how easy it is to turn music upside down, or sideways. I suppose it is done through knowing the musical language so well that inversions are easy.

One pianist I know turned around a piece of Chopin so that it was completely unidentifiable as Chopin's. The piece became a mystery and I appreciated it for how I heard it. Not knowing Chopin in every detail abetted my inability to recognize what the pianist had done in a tricksterish way. There is no doubt in my mind that such analysis and rebuilding of Chopin's work could have only influenced his own. Small measures of learning allow great steps to be taken in the next act of creation.

No one can invest in development without taking risks. I climbed two stories worth of rocks a while ago not knowing that I was going to do it; I only thought I was going to go up a few feet to reach a certain spot. I have never climbed rocks in my life, much less in my bare feet. Now I know that I can do it again.

Looking at a blank piece of paper is a scary proposition. I do not think people do that much anymore. Rather the object of gaze is a computer screen or some other unconventional surface. Visual artists will use anything, from pools of water to a pile of nails. For improvising musicians, the blank piece of paper is the time-space ahead of them and how they will use it with their instruments.

The question is what carries creative people to the next step when the gates open and a rush of doing occurs? It is so different and the same from person to person, no matter what the art. To note is that inside each person is some sort of storm of experience. As if the epicenter and simultaneous axis retains the core of existence of every creative being and the whirlwind that rotates from the center is filled with the varying life poetry whose influx is particular to each artist.

So as I write, I am speaking in a language of all time in which there are no words, no pictures, no sounds. I have known this language throughout my entire life on earth, throughout the suffering, the joy, the hardships, the personal internal triumphs. The smiles, the moods, the aloneness, the solitude, the false conclusions, the mental anguish, the revelations of the truths where superficiality is shed like the skin of a snake.

Although creation can be excused in a purposeful exercise in abstraction, abstraction is only a shadow of how it really happens. The creator lives to step away from those shadows. The shadows of the past, the shadows that outsiders imagine, the shadows of an inner being. Creation is a means of exploding out of how we are bound.

The result of the creative act can disappear as fast as it arrives. When it comes to music, the sound resonates to the point of extinction; when it comes to art, the art object may become stuck in materiality until it decomposes but the true idea of it will have moved into another place; because in the making of one piece of art, the next one is forming.

Creation is a means of aligning ourselves with everyone else no matter how resistant the artist may be to do that. It's gonna happen anyway. The individual on earth will de-atomize, as the process of art progresses, and radiate into the universal consciousness. The church of all, the apse of unity, the Rose window through which heavenly light penetrates.

copyright 2010 Lyn Horton

Video: Matthew Shipp live at A38 in Budapest, Hungary, September 5th, 2008,
opening for Joe McPhee, Roy Campbell, William Parker and Warren Smith

Photo: copyright 2008-10 Lyn Horton
Ceiling of the Angel Orensanz Foundation Building

1 comment:

  1. For me and, I suspect, many, the answer to this question 'what carries creative people to the next step when the gates open and a rush of doing occurs?' lies in the daily work, over time, that we engage in to be prepared/ready. Musicians call this activity 'practice', and it is no accident that you will hear Buddhists use the same language when referring to spiritual work.

    Something about repetition, ritual (so important to apprehend) and deep immersion, over time, in process - a bit like zazen (walking meditation) - and the act of being present in the moment, opening and sustaining that way of being in the world, is what prepares our vessel/tunes our instrument to receive/resonate when something does come to us/through us.

    Lately my experience has shown me that what I need is often present(ed), and that my job is to pay attention/respect to what is given, pick it up and get to work and - very important this - to be grateful for what you receive and for being healthy enough to work and share the work with others.

    Lovely writing Lyn, thought-provoking and right on time.


Is the Picture Big Enough?

Life poses many choices. I gotta pick something every now and again. Hopefully, the choice I make is the best one for the moment. But, how ...