I’ve been reluctant to share this with many people, but slowly I’m gaining confidence in this work and mostly in the emotion behind it. I think I’ve also been afraid of the response; what if they don’t understand it or they don’t like it? The same questions we all have. There is relief and revelation when you stop asking those questions because there is healing and growth in the process. There is a truth in the product, even if it’s not anyone else’s truth.
I started listening to a wide range of music again recently. For many years, because of work or comfort in the familiar, I only listen to two or three genres of music. I haven’t thought much about it until now, but I was avoiding music I could have danced to or could have pushed me creatively. By dance, I mean modern dance, which at 22 was everything I was. I was a dancer through high school, pursued it into college and I was going to be a choreographer. Then I got injured and eventually had to stop dancing. The pain of the injury was one thing, mostly manageable, and would subside for the most part after a few years. But losing a part of who I was, was different story. Memories and emotions can last much longer than the physical afflictions. It also led to fears I didn’t have before such as what other people thought of me. After a few years I found solace in other arts and I was able to let most of that pain go. I started trying on different hats, if you will, discovering who I could be without the movement and expression that had defined me. My husband asked me a few years ago if I ever missed dancing. I told him reluctantly, yes, but only rarely now. That was true but now I know it was the freeing feeling that came with dancing. The emotion that you can express without saying a word and take someone there with you, making it possible for them to feel too. That’s what I really miss.
Last summer I was listening to a song that stopped me. I listened to it in the corner of our little gym, mid workout with my earbuds in, just sitting on the floor with my mind in a very different place. It was a strange feeling, it was as if I was choreographing a dance in my mind, which I literally use to do in my sleep. But this time I was seeing images, I was painting the song instead. I pulled out a canvas and my oil paints that day. It’s been a long process creating this first painting, but it has been an adventure to explore a new process. I have now started several of what I call soundscapes, my visual interpretation of a song. It’s not dancing but it somehow involves all of the important element to become something like a dance. Instead of two people there is a song and paint. Instead of steps there is imagination and audible sensation. And in the end, you have an image that you can see movement in and imagine sound. You can interpret its meaning how you like, just as you do with a piece of music or dance.
Inspiration can hit at any moment, it’s up to us to have the courage to create.