Early one morning

August 25, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

There are all sorts of times for creating – authors and playwrights get up early to begin writing until lunch time maybe and then they might quit for the rest of the day and do other things, in a routine that channels discipline and productivity.

From my many interviews with visual artists, they too seem to be day-time people, rising in full vigour to approach a canvas or the mud on a pedestal that waits to be turned into a fine pottery piece for use or simple appreciation.

The sculptor faces the wood or metal or stone in the light of day and perhaps, ponders during a night of thought, inspired by dreams and visions.

By and large. Yet the night into the early shreds of dawn draws many a creative soul to leave sleep for the busy day because sleep can deny anything and bring rest regardless of the hour. Friends of mine, a husband-and-wife team, prefer the quiet of nighttime, the freedom from distraction with no chance of a random telephone call to ply his talent as a book narrator and hers as editor to his work.

He can sit and concentrate with every chance of accomplishing much more during those quiet hours than day time is guaranteed to grant, to focus on the timbre, character voices – nuance – all that it takes to keep the listener close and fascinated. 

What seems true is that science in all its arrogance has not been able to understand the nature of creativity, of what makes an artist of a person, where those talents and inclinations rest in the – not just the brain – they have theories about that – but we all have brains that deliver different abilities to each of us.

It is the mystic muse that is the problem for science, restricted as it is by the need for facts and tangible proofs. How to understand the impulse and whimsy that fuel artistic endeavour. How does an imagine take on new form in the hands and mind of an artist’s reflection and use of paint and tools? Where do the characters on the page come from? How do the combined efforts of playwright and actor deliver moments that mean so much to the audience on the floor before them? 

The inspiration of a fleeting moment can give birth to the monumental.

Music – what about music. The bookmark of societal history; the tool of impulse to dance, to sing, even to march. Everything we do, we bring music into it and so, who are the creators of music all these ages since our beginning as a species, mind, critters on the cave walls and noises in our throats that mean something more than speech. Where does the music that fills the composer’s mind and blasts form the concert halls to the street corners come from? Where is the need and the talent to play, sing and dance come from? The most basic of our existence? Who we really are?

Like us, music is in every aspect of who and what we are, from the innocence of birth to the furthest reaches, for better and for worse, of what we become. The driving beats pushing us to war; the swelling notes to make us dream of love or flying or standing before the mighty oceans; the lullabies we sing to our children. Music has been the standard for our behaviour, our greatest victories, our most miserable defeats. It defines generations.

According to the new history, as it were, the last century or so is clearly divided into groups of ten years, as to fashion, conversation and music. As our technology develops, our abbreviated world shrinks and our minds search for new ways to say things, we will always define all that in our art. What suits one generation might be alien to others but the generations are speaking to each other without borders; even language is less of a barrier than it used to be.

Will the vast wash of communication unite or divide? That depends on the influence of the old men still at the top of the human pile and how they will finally pass the corruption to younger men.

Whether we survive as a species and how will still be recorded by our art, in whatever form it takes.

Recently, researchers are – at last – giving credit to the other inhabitants of this world for having art in their lives. The songs of the ocean population which seamen have recorded has been acknowledged; birds have been seen to “decorate” their nests with non-functioning items. Everywhere, there is evidence that birds sing the songs of other birds; that mammals create items with no purpose but to attract mates; that we are not alone with our inspirations.

Art and life reflect mutually. They are completely “intertwangled” as we used to say, jokingly to denote a sort-of superlative of interconnection. Without life, there is no art; without art, there is no life.

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