Friday, September 18, 2009

What Does Creativity Sound Like To You?

I have been at this experiment for just over a week now, 51 weeks left to go in the adventure.

The minute I heard the morning news announcing the death of Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary fame, the idea for this drawing popped into my head.  It took me until today to get the image scanned in and coloured, but the idea for today’s post stemmed from yesterday’s sad news.  I am sure that Puff is crying indeed.

Music has an incredible ability to move us.  There are 3 songs and that will make me cry within minutes and two hymns that I always struggle with at church.  You Are My Sunshine and The Unicorn by the Irish Rovers are two of the songs, but my first experience with music that made me cry was with the song Puff the Magic Dragon.

I can’t have been more than 3 at the time and memories from that age can be tricky, but I vividly remember our house on Pine Avenue in Montreal and my father hooking up a reel to reel recording machine.  I was fascinated by how the brown tape fit into all the places before it wound onto the other reel.  Then the song began to play and for the first time in my life, the words spoke to me and made sense.  By the last verse when Puff hung his head and sadly slipped into his cave, I was beside myself in tears.  I later drew a book so that the song could have a happier ending and when a picture book came out a few years ago, I was thrilled to discover that I was not the only one who had wished for continuity in the story or that Puff could have another friend.  Perhaps this is why I fell in love with the manuscript for Owen & The Dinosaur and knew that I had to bring an equally charming story to life with my drawings.

Music touches us on a deep inner level. Even now, as I am typing this and thinking back to those childhood memories, an incredible aching sense of sadness washes over me and the tears stream down my face yet again.

Such is the power of music to touch our souls...

INHALE: From humming to whistling, singing to playing all kinds or instruments, we human beings are musical creatures.  Most of us can hear songs that take us back to specific times in our lives, songs that comfort or exhilarate us, songs that make us tap our toes or give into a good cry.  We also associate music with certain people in our lives.  I can remember my grandfather whistling as he puttered around and hearing a banjo takes me back to the banjo rallies that used to be held at their house.  Barbershop quartet music and solid four part harmony make me think of my Dad and how he taught us to sing in harmony on long car trips before ipods and Nintendo DS game consoles existed.  I have also heard friend complain about the music that their parents made them listen to on those kinds of cars trips and yet those same songs can be such comfort once their parents are gone. Dick Clark was right when he proclaimed that “music is the soundtrack of our lives”.

EXHALE:  What type of music do you listen to when you are being creative?  I’ve decided that I need a new play list in iTunes just for Creativity.  I have one called drawing faves that is made up of instrumental music, classical and other songs that make nice background music while I am drawing or painting.  They are chosen because they are good to listen to but don’t really break my concentration.  Josh Groban’s first album was wonderful music to listen to while working on the first children’s book I illustrated Just Nanny and Me & Fun Things To Paint.  Most of it was in other languages, but that man could sing a phone book and I would listen!  Start thinking about which songs inspire you to be Creative and put together a play list on your computer.  Just be sure that they are LEGAL downloads so that you aren’t stealing someone else’s Creativity to fuel your own!

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