Creativity as a Prayer
For many years I have written both prose and poetry. As I write, I have noted how I my voice is coming from somewhere beyond the words I have placed on the page. I feel transformed for the duration. I almost hate to end, to polish off the writing. The words I have written come from beyond me. I always regret leaving that space, moving back to the Ann.
In the past few years, as I have reached the age of 70 and beyond, I have found this outlet of creativity more difficult to get into. My word-finding ability has diminished a bit. Where I used to be able to let words flow through me and onto the page, I now find if I stop for anything, interrupt my flow of inspiration, the words are more difficult to locate when I move back to recording them. They do come, and I continue to write poetry I find to be divinely inspired. But this inspiration does not flow as easily.
But, as my words begin to flow a bit more slowly, I have found other, non-verbal ways to express that which dwells in my soul. Where I have always been able to use my hands to write down words, those hands now move through clay, create a visual impression for my expressions.
As I mold a lump of clay, the clay seems to form itself into a pleasing shape. Every piece I create is one-of-a-kind. No matter how hard I try, I cannot make the same piece twice. My soul has moved on. My fingers turn the clay into a different-looking object.
I go through phases in my sculpting. At one point I am forming Hebrew words on a clay slab. At another, my hands make mug jugs or textured vases. One of my favorite pieces is a diorama of the Verde Valley. It has four layers—the sky, the mountains, the grasslands and the river. I inscribed a poem on the back of this creation. I have tried on several other occasions to reproduce this concept. Every time it becomes into something else.
At this time I have been sculpting Madonnas and angels. Pretty timely, since the holidays are coming and I hope people looking for seasonal pieces will appreciate them. The clay will not lie down, let me form a word on it! But both the angels and the diorama have their source in the recesses of my soul.
I believe that when I sit down to create I open that pathway into my soul. When I allow this path to open, I can share my inspiration with others. This happens for me both with words and with clay.
Recently I have been aware of other creative modalities. I listen to a lot of classical music. In symphonies by Beethoven, nocturnes by Chopin, sonatas of Mozart and Bach’s cello suites I have discovered these genius’ souls revealed (not that I could ever put my own adventures in creativity onto their plane).
I watched a You-tube video of Martha Graham. In the dance “Lamentations” she is enrobed in black fabric with only her hands, feet and face exposed. Within these constrictions, with minimal accompaniment and simple lighting, her body becomes a holy conduit to prayer.
Perhaps that is what all of us who risk exposing our deepest cores, our holy souls, are trying to accomplish; becoming conduits of prayer.
I am deeply troubled by the world around us at this time. It is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Opinions are so convoluted they are easily mistaken for gospel truths. And, as we each try to distinguish that which we believe, it becomes harder and harder to communicate with those who hold other truths. We have lost a common ground for communication.
But, I hold out hope for creativity. Maybe, within our individual conduits to prayer we can meet up with others’ conduits. Maybe these passageways can bypass some of the deep divisions we are mired in. Maybe we can meet in the the shadows of a Rodin sculpture. Or dance together to a lively polka.
And, let me invite you to come, experience my sculpting. Come, meet up with my holy, inner soul.
"With all the beauty surrounding me here above the Verde Valley, how could I not create more beauty?"