Saturday, February 1, 2014

Suspended in Creativity

Photo from 
The stage lights serve as a barrier; they blind you from reaction, they protect you from fear. In that moment, you are Mozart's Fiordiligi or  Tchaikovsky's Joan of Arc. Your mind is mute, instinct takes over, time is suspended in creativity, expression is life.

I haven't performed in years, but on rare occasion my heart remembers, and I again am transported to the stage, the music filtering through the light's protection, the smell of musty curtains, the expression of the cast as they too became lost. Weeks of practice boil down to these few precious hours. It is rare. Performing artists cling to the surreal, fearing they may never experience it again.

It wasn't until this afternoon, when I looked at the clock and found that four hours had passed, these feelings came back and I realized that it isn't the stage, or the audience, or even the music that suspends time. It's the act of creation. Whether it is a character in a novel or a role in an opera, the story comes to life. It taps in a place so deep within that artists are swept away; they are lost in the characters, in the world they've created. It's magical.

I find it odd that some work their whole careers never experiencing this phenomenon, while others run to it every night. Why is that? There were times I forced myself to practice, waiting for the clock to set me free, and then there were times I'd look up to see the clock's hands had moved to the other side. Writing is the same. At times I look at the word count, forcing myself to be dedicated to the craft, and then there are times when the story flows through my fingertips. My eyes stay closed as the story unfolds; time stands still. 

Maybe it's the way we approach art. Maybe it's having the courage to lead with our hearts. I have no clue, but I treasure days like today. I long for them. I'll let these words steep for a week or two so that I don't ruin this feeling. I'll go back when they cool to just words on a screen, and then I'll pull them apart and restructure them properly, but for now, I'm just going to enjoy the moment, and relish the fact that whereas performers get to experience this only for a brief while, writers can create until they take in their last breath. And for that, I am eternally grateful!

Have you ever had an experience (performance or otherwise) in which time stood still?


  1. I love the feeling of tapping into the story, being transported into the heads of my characters and living their moments with them. While I am there, there is no heat, no cold, and time ceases to exist. The outside world fades away and my inner world is rich.

    And it's been a couple years since I've been on stage as well, but love the feeling. :)

  2. I didn't know you performed. Did you act, sing, dance, or were you one of those triple threats? :-)

    1. I have done some acting, but not for more years than I care to count, I used to do the honky tonk circuit, singing with live bands, and my dancing??? Threat is actually a good word for it... as in threat to others. HA! Let's just say I enjoy dancing, and on a dance floor can hold my own, but stage??? Nope.