Saturday, October 20, 2012

Creativity is a Blessid Union

Wine hung in the air and on my brain as I looked around the crowded room. Waiting in anticipation for the band to come down from the loft and start the show I began to chatter like I normally do when I'm excited.

"I hope they play 'Hey Leonardo'." I leaned toward my husband, grabbing his hand like a little schoolgirl. "I know they are going to play 'I Believe'. That's, like, their most popular song."

"I'm sure they will," said my husband.

'This is so surreal,' I thought. 'Blessid Union of Souls in Oakwood, Illinois. At a winery no less.' For a second I wondered how I was going to react to seeing a celebrity. I haven't seen that many and the ones I have seen I've seen from a great distance or they weren't very big celebrities but I never know how I'm going to act around even a slightly famous person. And here I was about to be 10 feet from the lead singer of Blessid Union. I wasn't quite sure what would happen.

Before I could ponder any longer I heard footsteps upstairs and then the clomp, clomp of heavy shoes coming down the thick wooden stairs behind me. They're coming!

The lead singer, Eliot, and the guitarist, Bryan, bounced to the stage. I could feel the energy that builds before a performance. The rest of the audience was excited too; it was a sold-out show. The downstairs tasting room was packed with tables and chairs like a puzzle and every table was packed with people. But it wasn't uncomfortable. It was cozy.

I looked back to Eliot and Bryan who were unfortunately only half the band: the singer and guitarist. The simple stage with two mics, two stools, and a keyboard looked like it was made for them. All the clutter and superfluous things were absent, leaving room only for the thing that mattered most: the music.

Every song brought back memories from middle school and early high school, the time in everyone's life when they don't know who they are yet. I turned to music to try and figure myself out and Blessid Union was one of the main sources for inspiration. I was most confused about love and relationships and was already quite sick playing childish games. From Blessid Union's songs I learned at least some of the reality of love.

In between songs, Eliot talked about the origins of their songs, where they were when he wrote them and other anecdotes about his life and the band. One song was inspired by one of the band members cleaning up his life. A girl Eliot saw for a brief moment in a hotel lobby inspired him to write, 'That's the girl I've been telling you about'. While he talked I started to think about photographers and how they are inspired to capture certain moments in their life and in doing so they tell the world a story. And if not the world, at least themselves.

I never thought about it before but a song writer is exactly the same. Instead of taking a picture of that girl in the hotel lobby, Eliot wrote a song to tell the story of a blip of time in his life.

And isn't that what we are all doing? Trying to tell our stories and hold on to endless fleeting moments. I was left wondering: Is this the building block of all creativity, the raw component, creativity in its basic form?

It was so refreshing to be that close to a performer. It didn't really matter that he was a celebrity. No matter how many people know Eliot and love his music, he is still just a human and a creator like the rest of us.

As Eliot and Bryan finished up their set I realized that creativity is as essential to us as water or air. Experiencing pure creative energy is a lot like eating a nutritious, filling meal. Afterward, you are refreshed, content, and full of energy.

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