I never thought I would compose music, or shoot a video for one of my original songs. I never believed I could play guitar (still a novice), or ukulele... until I read Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic". Yes, I had ALWAYS been creating STUFF. Yes, I was always able to carry a tune, and YES I majored in Musical Theatre Performance in College. It's no secret that music has been a BIG part of my life... but "Big Magic" helped me dig a little bit deeper- reminding me that I didn't need anyone's permission to create my own (sound) waves, and I also needn't let the fear of my own failure stop me from EXPLORING possibilities.
"I never took lessons...Where do I start? I'm probably doing it all wrong..." These are all excuses not to make art. I managed to get halfway through the book before slamming it shut and running to grab my sister's old guitar. I thought... I'm just going to play with sound. I'm not going to TRY to write a song... I'm just going to play with what SOUNDS interesting to me.
This exploration felt soothing, and very personal. I wasn't afraid to make terrible sounds
A. ) Expectations: I did not promise to be a professional guitarist the first time I plucked or strummed a note.
B.) Intentions: I was PLAYING for myself, from a place of joy- not for anyone else.
Training in a performing arts program for years... I found it easy to think about performance first rather than focusing on the internal first. Art's programs can be extremely fast paced and demanding; requiring students to crank out a lot in a short amount of time. This is helpful in ways, but also hurtful, for example; if I try to sell a product before knowing exactly what it is I am selling... this might be detrimental for the legitimacy of my business. Similarly, focusing too much on the performance aspect can feel like a trap for PLEASING others (which I am just no longer concerned with, thank goodness). Performance doesn't have to happen on a stage either. How one might "perform" on social media, for example, could also affect what we're creating, so it's important for us to focus on what COMPELS us to create in the first place, rather than "doing it for the gram"(what all the cool kids are saying). Personally, writing and composing music helps me understand what's underneath the surface; when I can't seem to express my emotions with words right away, music guides me through it. When I played the guitar for the first time - I had NO idea what I was doing... BUT I had made a contract with myself to release the expectations of PERFECTION, and focus on discovery. Working this way filled me with a sense of freedom and bliss, making any other therapeutic exercise, unmatched in comparison.
A year and a half later, (after finishing "Big Magic", reading it 4 more times, and ordering about 12 copies for my family and friends) I have written several songs on the guitar, uke, and piano… I have a music video out, a song on spotify/itunes, and I have written two children’s books. (I’m having a lot of FUN!)
Whatever you want to explore, perhaps it's painting or sculpting or graphic design... Do it for YOURSELF not the "gram". If we are truly connected to the art we're creating and our INTENTIONS, we WILL, as a result, affect someone, if not... ourselves (which is most important anyway!)
TRYING to affect; however, before knowing our intentions, will leave us unfulfilled.
Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for digging deeper. Your words continue to affect me everyday. I don't like to tell people what to do (all the time) but seriously people, go get this book, RIGHT NOW! You won't be disappointed. https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/
What excites you? What do you want to make? What is your BIG MAGIC? Let me know! Below is a link to my first music video... I am happy to say it is absolutely IMPERFECT, though a PERFECT expression of my growth and bravery as an artist.
"Embrace the quirks, not the smirks!"