Friday, January 09, 2009

Creativity Spirals and Loops

Today is the first day that the blogging group, lovingly lead by Jamie Ridler begins to share in the journey of this book.

I don't have the book yet. I very recently learned of this whole event and the book. I plan to get it. Heck, I may frame the cover. Isn't it great?

We've been invited to share where we are in our own journey to our creative self.

I remember loving to draw and paint when I was a kid. I never thought of myself as an artist and by high school, I was aware of not being an artist.

I was a singer. That I owned. Some of my earliest memories hold images of me standing in front of a mirror or a room full of stuffed animals holding a makeshift microphone and crooning. For a while, I used things that had cords, so I could hold it in my hand and whip it around like my favorite singers did. Later, when Donny and Marie got their high-tech mics with the antennae, I chopped off the cord to my tape recorder's microphone so I could have that sort of mic. Thank goodness I was an adult by the time Mz. Jackson and Brittany donned their headphone style mics.

I once got an opportunity to sing in my brother's gospel band. It was a disaster. They changed keys and I didn't. But somehow I was not deterred.

When I was in junior high, there was a turning point in my life. The high school choir came to do a concert and I determined that I would be in that choir.

The first year of high school, I joined the concert choir. I loved it. I remember asking Mr. Halstead, the director, how I could sing like my dear friend, Martha. He laughed and in front of our peers said, "you'll never sing like Martha." Granted, she was and is extraordinary. Still I was not deterred.

I worked hard and took all of his teaching to heart.

The next year, I auditioned for the show choir and got in. Martha and I did a lot of singing together. That was such fun!

One of the great moments of my life was during a concert in which I had a solo. As Mr. Halstead introduced me, he said that I had "come out the woodwork, out of nowhere." He told everyone what a great voice I had. I think that's when I began to realize that if I really wanted to do something, I could do it.

My senior year, the Tech Singers (from West Virginia Institute of Technology) came to perform at our school. Another dream. I wanted to be a part of it. The director, Mr. Guy Owen Baker (almighty GOB, we lovingly called him) listened to a number of us sing. He told me to keep my math grades up and he would get my tuition waived. True to his word, I began college in the fall of 1983, tuition waived, a Music Ed major. I was in the concert choir and the show choir and it was wonderful.

I met and married Tom, the boys' father, and we immediately moved to Roanoke so I had to give up my scholarship. I did some odd babysitting jobs around the area and ended up working for a woman who was a teacher and pianist. She convinced me to audition for the local Bach Choir and she accompanied me. I made it and met many wonderful people.

The director of the Bach Choir was the head of the music department at Roanoke College. I decided to go to school there as a Voice major and sang in the choirs there. Heaven.

Walking through Olin Hall one day, I heard this incredible choir. I inquired about it and was told that it was a professional ensemble called Canticum Novum, lead by the college choir director. He rarely took students. I was not deterred. :)

I asked Mr. (now Dr.) Sandborg if I could audition. I did and I was priviledged to be a part of that group. I learned more about taking responsibility for my own pitch and observation during that time than any other in my life of voice.

Canticum Novum was a a cappella ensemble made up of 9-12 people. Sometimes there was one person per part. In one song, I had the pivotal key change note. I had to pick it out of nowhere. For weeks I would stop in the middle of whatever I was doing, sing the high E and run to the piano to see if I had it.

(Redemption! I could finally make up for missing that key change way back when, by being solely responsible for a key change.)

The night of our big concert I was a nervous wreck until that song was over. lol At intermission, the choir was laughing and saying, "now Lisa can enjoy the rest of the show." They were so right!

The next morning I woke up sick. I thought it was post-nerves. Nope. It was Nicholas Allen Poole. :)

I finished out the semester of school but being sick 24 hours a day didn't make me real excited about signing up for the next so I dropped out.

I always thought I'd go back but I haven't.

I did continue to sing in my church choir, excellently directed by Linda Mayes, for many years but as my beliefs changed I just could no longer do it. As I've explained to a couple of people recently, I just can't sing words that I don't believe. If you do that without music, they call it lying.

So, I am not sure where I am in my journey of music. I am certain that I am still on that journey because it comes up when I think of my dreams.

My journey took a jaunt from music and lured me down the road of collage and paint and spirit dolls. It's a beautiful path and I have no idea where it is taking me. I am simply enjoying the scenery.

I hope this beautiful book will give me some secrets for figuring out how to read the signs along the paths of creativity. Not just in singing or collage, but in all of my life.

I'm happy to be a part of the group blogging about the book.

I have not quite found my niche in the art world yet. But I am not deterred.

I do remember walking the halls of Olin Hall, which was home to the music and art departments. I would watch students working on projects and admire the art hanging in the gallery. I distinctly remember having thoughts of taking art classes but being afraid I couldn't cut it.

I have no idea where that feeling came from or why I allowed it to stop me.

I am happy that my path has loops and spirals in it and that I am able now to play and paint and collage without fear.

It makes me wonder what other delightful surprises await me along the path.

I can't wait to find out.


Nadya said...

Lisa - I was riveted by your story!! I came over with 'just a few minutes' before heading off to my day - WOW!!
I love the weave of music - some of my story matches (still have to write it on my blog!) in odd ways - & like you, it's become challanging to be in the Church choir (even tho I attend a great ch. with similar values, there are still glitches with some of the music :( . . .

Harp & Native Am. flute have taken the place of piano, & I sing lots of chants . . . .

Shell said...

Lisa, thank you for sharing your story with music. I think sometimes when we are good with one artistic gift, we block our other gifts feeling like we should just have one. I feel we all have so many creative gifts. I'm glad your having fun on your creative journey.

I'm not participating in the blogging group. I have read the book many of the times. It's one of my favorites and a great friend to me.

Kathryn Costa said...

I am certain that you will have many loops and spirals along your path. I'm so happy to hear that you are not afraid to create art as you once were. I look forward to the delightful surprises that await us!

Sophie said...

What an inspiring post! Thank you for sharing that part of you with us.


Lisa said...

Wonderful story. My favorite part is the refrain ~
"I was not deterred."

I love singing and can't carry a tune, so I love hearing about a singer's artistic journey. Thanks.

I can't wait to find out either!

Kathie said...

I am really excited that we are sharing the "12 Secrets" journey together!

Beautiful story, I read it sitting with goosebumps the whole way through!


Genie Sea said...

What a spirit of determination, what a strong voice singling inspiration, what a journey of faith in your dream!

I am looking forward to sharing this loop in your journey :)

gma said...

Wow Froggy Such a great post. Amazing to find out more about you.
Glad you are doing this book.You are so talented! Hi to your boys.

Jamie Ridler said...

I love the way you refuse to be deterred! With a spirit like that, you can do anything!

Sue Seibert said...

And aren't the surprises the glory of it all. Serendipity...don't often use that word but it works here!

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this post :) as someone who was always told "you can't sing" it is inspiring to read about your story.

I did overcome that somewhat when I joined a local singing group, but I haven't been to the group for over a year..

I look forward to reading about the surprises coming your way!

Suzie Ridler said...

What a fantastic story! I've always wanted to be a singer. Turns out my voice is in my fingers, LOL. You never know where creativity will strike next. I can't wait to see what you take on next! Let go of the connection between fear and art. I think that's a big lesson for all of us doing this book club.

Miss Kim said...

I can hear all of TNC bloggers raising our voices together right now and singing at the top of our lungs! Wooohooo!

KV Creative Designs said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! Your story is so lovely! Thank you for sharing it with us. I look forward to visiting your blog again and we embark on this Fabulous Creative Journey!

Happy New Year and Artful Blessings,

P.S. My avatar is a sneak peek of the ideas that I am giving away for my Blogiversary! Come by and enter for your chance to win.

Caroline said...

Wow - do you realise how lucky you are not to have been blocked as a singer? You've sung and reached your high E - that sounds pretty good to me.

I have such a problem with singing myself that its amazing to hear about someone with such confidence in being able to sing in tune let alone well!

Lisa said...

Thank you for all the amazing comments! I feel such support here.

Lisa PN said...

Lisa, What an amazing story. Your determination was and is so inspiring. It's great that from a young age you knew what it was that you wanted and worked hard to achieve it. I look forward to more of your inspiring stories during the next 12 weeks.

J C said...

I have heard your lovely, amazing voice and I believe music belongs in your life somewhere. Don't give it up. xoxoxo