Friday, January 16, 2009

Gastronomy and the Divine Creative Impulse

What drives us to create? What is the explanation for something formulating in one's mind, like a melody or a verse, and what drives one to want to manifest it in some tangible form? Artists whom I have interviewed seem to agree that creating is something you feel you must do, and if you don't, then you are denying your mind and body a basic nourishment, like food. Though my need to create ebbs and flows like many of my other impulses, I am always struck by the almost cathartic nature of this drive.

How can we explain creative impulse? Why do I want to bake a pie, just out of the blue? Perhaps I wish to see the magical transformation of tough stalks of rhubarb melding with strawberries and sugar, or the crust rolling out just right, and the lattice top cutter rolling merrily through the dough. Perhaps I wish to experience the simple satisfaction of admiring a work in completion as it comes out of the oven, smelling like all the comforts in the world. Of course, unlike writing a song, one of the many perks of baking is that you get to put your creation in your mouth and savor it.

Unlike baking, songwriting allows for a longer-lasting savor. Sure, I don't get to put my song in my mouth and chew on it. But I get to sing it, which is another oral (and aural) experience altogether, and I can do so as many times as I want, indefinitely. Singing is one of my favorite things to do. There's great mystery in being able to open one's mouth and release air and vibrations to form notes wrapped in words. No other instrument can accomplish this. Moreover, unlike many other instruments, the voice is not man-made. We were created with this instrument already built into our bodily functions. How divine!

Recently, my sister and I brought in new members to our band, The Hello Strangers. I have been compelled ever since by the need to create once again. To be honest, when I am not focusing on running our photography business, it consumes my thoughts. Melodies greet me upon awaking, prompting me to grab my guitar and bring the song to life, so to speak. It seems effortless; in just a few minutes the song is alive and ready to share with others. Visions and ideas about the future of our band inspire me during many of my waking hours. All of a sudden, the thought of touring sounds marvelous, whereas before it seemed intimidating and somehow out-of-reach.

My sister and I, having talked about playing with a full band for years, are amazed to watch things falling into place around us, as if they were meant to happen right here and now. The energy of our new band mates is contagious, and the support of our small but growing fan base is humbling. I know that my creativity is spurred by this new context in which our music exists. I am grateful for it everyday, because my life has become enriched with the textures, melodies, and visions of creativity - that divine, mysterious force that we cannot rationally explain or deny.

Our first gig as a band is tonight, and I cannot contain my excitement about sharing this energy with others.

© Ryan Smith

2 comments:

Karl Staib - Work Happy Now said...

I would love to see your band perform. Your community is lucky to have all of you. Maybe you can take some video and post a little clip on YouTube. Maybe you can record it and send me an MP3.

What do you think?

You must share your band's gloriousness with your fans in different states.

Larissa said...

Hi, Karl! We plan to post video and photos to myspace soon. Also, we are working on a website. Thanks for your support!