Thursday, April 05, 2007

Creative Buzz

As Alex and I sat at lunch yesterday, my entire body was buzzing. I felt as though I'd mainlined a church-sized urn of coffee, though my small Americano had actually remained unfinished in my travel mug that morning. The only stimulant in my system was the adrenaline of my vocal we'd just recorded for the track that will close the album. It had gone very, very well.

In fact, the whole project is going extremely well. I'd be more concerned about jinxing it if the power felt like it were coming from me instead of just through me. There's a grace to the process and to everyone's performances that feels far beyond anything to do with my ego. I'm reminded of Michelangelo's famous comment that the figures he sculpted already existed within the huge blocks of stone -- his job was just to chip away the excess. My job is to midwife these songs into the tracks that need to go on the album. I literally feel it in my body when we've captured it.

At the same time I'm helping these songs take form, I also feel the songs changing me. I'm rediscovering my deep love of music -- not so many years ago, I felt completely cut off from it. I couldn't even listen to music without a profound sadness stirring in me. And now, I walk along with the rough mixes playing on my iPod, and I start to cry because I'm so moved by what's coming through. The way one song is shaping up, I won't be surprised if it becomes something I point to as a major achievement of my life.

Several years ago, I'd more or less put my music on hold. My energy felt more drawn towards writing, and I finally decided that beating myself up for not spending time booking gigs brought me nothing (except bruises). I feel humbled and grateful that I listened to that instinct -- if I hadn't let music percolate up again in its own time, I'd wind up with songs that sounded forced and cut off from soul. The transformative experience I've been blessed with instead needed the filtering of those years to bubble up, clear and satisfying.

From the outset, I'd envisioned this album as a healing: many of the songs use imagery from my shamanic work, and the songs are ordered to follow the shape of a healing ritual. That intention has influenced every aspect of the project. I sensed the profound potential of the album, even before I'd finalized the track list.

What I couldn't have foreseen was that it would primarily work its healing on me.


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