poetry • art • marriage • momhood • faith

A Matter of Tuning

A tricky thing, inspiration is.  Take for instance, music as a muse. 

On a good day, music spurs something within, evoking an expression of creativity.  I remember one night in college listening to the Goo Goo Doll's "Acoustic #3" on repeat for what seemed like hours while I painted.  Pretty crazy considering that the track is less than 2 minutes long.  Regardless, something about that song was enough to make me paint.  Later, when I discovered Jason Mraz (thanks to the hype of "The Remedy"), his way with words inspired me to reconsider how I wrote my own and encouraged me to write some more.  This is music as a muse.

But there is the other side — of any muse, not just music: the Muse-Turned-Distraction.  Henceforth, I shall refer to the Muse-Turned-Distraction as "MTD."

The danger of the MTD is in its slow, seemingly inconsequential affiliation of its victim's creativity.  Oftentimes, MTD is transmitted via an unknowing carrier.  Though contractible from places, pets, video games, etc., MTD is highly contagious from person-to-person.  In my personal experience, I have contracted MTD from other people — my husband and my sons specifically — and the musical makings of one Mr.Jason Mraz.

MTD is often mistaken as mere "preoccupation" or "writer's block," but on closer examination, a keen perception will note that unlike writer's block, a clear indication of a classic case of MTD is not a lack of want to create or ideas to create from.  Rather, a sense of obsession over the muse prevents the artist from creating.  In essence, MTD is an addiction  to the muse itself.

For example, I have written few "happy" pieces about my husband.  This is not an indication of a lack of happy feelings toward my husband.  Rather, it is a result of the fact that during "good times," my creative self would rather just enjoy the pleasantries than commit them to words.  (An unfortunate result is a short stack of almost exclusively angry and frustrated poems about the wonderful man I married.)  Likewise, when I went to Italy 6 years ago, I loved my visit so much that I created exactly zero pieces of artwork from its inspiration.

And now, there's Mraz.  His music makes me dance, sing, and — in certain quiet moments — cry, in awe.  He makes me want to go out and stretch myself, become something brighter.  He makes me want to create beautiful things.  Just one problem:  when I try — assuming I manage to overcome the inertia of my creative standstill — everything comes out in his words.  Except not nearly as awesome. 

So, as much as it kills me to even think it, I think I'm going to go on retreat from Mraz's tunes.  Not yet, though, but soon.  I'm thinking starting 6/6 for 2 weeks.  Then reevaluate.

Sigh. (to the tune of "details in the fabric")

AGHHH!!!

(wish me luck.)

2 Comments

  1. Chucka Stone Designs Chucka Stone Designs
    June 4, 2008    

    You know inspiration & creativity have been eluding me so much lately too. Must be something in the air…or Mercury retrograde like Charmaine mentioned in my comments recently.

    Funny you mention this, I was just thinking about it a couple weeks ago…I used to only tell my girlfriends when things were not going well with Matt & realized that they must think I hate him or something. About 6 months or so ago I just stopped telling them anything, good or bad and let it be. No one (if you can believe it) has asked ‘so hey how is Matt & your relationship’? I actually prefer it this way, our lives can remain private & the good or bad is just for us.

    Jason. Yeah. I have been discussing with a few people recently how I truly want to knock him off the apparent pedestal I placed him on (for reasons I can not define) but there is something that just won’t let me. I try to not listen to his music or read his blog but something keeps me coming back to it all the time. I will envy you if you are able to pull it off because allegedly admitting your problem is the first step in getting help. Lol. Two more days until the experiment begins :~D Good luck ridding yourself of the MTD!

  2. Ginger Ginger
    June 6, 2008    

    wow julie. i’ve been blaming my lack of creativity lately on the topsyturvy-ness of my life and what-not. those lyrics do tend to distract though….makes me wonder now that i’ve read this.

    i missed a lot while i was gone.

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torch bearing quietly

I will not act out, will not
yell or curse or slam doors,
will not make a scene -- you
do not deserve such a chance
to make an example out of me
to be proven right since you
are not. Instead, I'll stand
at this street corner, raise
my hand high and clench that
light which yet remains. It
will burn brightly, quietly,
fiercely before fading as I.

Then I'll be gone but found.

©JAC 2005

Poetry by Julie Ann Cook!

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