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If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Seize the Creative Spark!

For years I've enjoyed waking up while hearing an original tune in my head. Sometimes it's a single melodic line; other times I hear an entire orchestra. I repeat, the music is just in my head, lest you think I'm a bit crazy. (Although, that's a possibility. too)

The unconscious musical composing also happens during the day. Sometimes I ignore the compositions that my brain concocts. Other times, I simply enjoy listening to the inward music.
But lately I've wondered why I don't write down the music. After all, some of the compositions are really inventive and attractive. I've got the music skills to notate the music (unless it becomes too symphonic!), so why not wait for the next tune to pop into my head and then take pen to manuscript paper?
So, this morning, just as I was waking, a cute little tune arrived. I listened to the entire tune play itself through my head.
After listening, I decided that the tune would be perfect for my piano students. The music, as I envisioned it on the score, wasn't too easy to be boring, nor was it too hard for my intermediate students.
I jumped up and ran to the piano to play what I'd heard in my head. Then I wrote it down.
(In January, when I get this whole "record and play on my blog" thing perfected, I'll share with you some of my brain concoctions.)
I've since talked to a number of other writers and musicians and found that this unconscious creativity is common.

Sometimes, it's a whole story, rising unbidden into a writer's mind
Sometimes, it's a long-sought solution to a problem that finally pops up.
Sometimes, it's a picture just pleading to be painted.

One time, I dreamed that I saw my dining room table dressed up in  certain style and loaded with certain kinds of food dishes. (I'd been wrestling in my mind for a number of days with what to serve my guests at an up-coming party.)
Another time, I dreamed an entire scene for one of my novels. It was exactly what my manuscript needed to raise the suspense and the stakes for my main character. I sat down that very morning and typed out the scene.

And how's this for creativity?: The author of "The Phantom of the Opera", Gaston Leroux, reportedly woke from a sound sleep with the story of the phantom laid out in his mind. He immediately set about to write what his brain had come up with.

Handel wrote the entire oratorio, The Messiah, in twenty four days. TWENTY FOUR DAYS!?!
At the end of the composition, he wrote SDG: Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone the glory)
I'd say Handel was operating by inspiration!

Here's the important thing: when that spark -- call it divine inspiration or a sudden mental clarity --creates something in your mind, seize it and do something to flesh out the ghost. Don't wait. I can't tell you how many musical compositions (not that my pieces will achieve Handel-ian greatness) I've put on hold while I finished the laundry. By the time I was ready to notate my composition, the darn thing had fled, never to be recaptured.
So don't wait.
When inspiration takes wing, grab it by its legs and hold on.
It may take you where you've never gone before!

"I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt His name together." (Psalm 34: 1-3 NRSV)

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