Over the past week, we have travelled on coastal roads, city streets, six-lane highways, dirt tracks, and semi-rural roads lined with paddocks and hills. Each year around this time, some friends hold a little music gathering on their farm. If I could only attend one music event a year, it would be this one. (Thankfully I am not so restricted). To get there is a great journey and one well worth the effort.
The folk family, as mentioned in other stories, is a wonderful collection of people. And the folk music scene is incredibly inviting to all. Acceptance and kindred welcomes are natural in this world. As a result, I have seen many people begin to play a musical instrument at fairly advanced ages after such gatherings. The inspiration has helped me grow over the years too, going from a timid and new performer to one who is confident and happy playing to large numbers or around any camp fire. It was a wonderful time. It was also a time of great creative expression.
Creativity is a vital part of life; an essential ingredient to happiness that is sadly overlooked in the busy societies we live in. It doesn’t matter what type of creativity it is. So often people say they are not creative. Yet they are amazing cooks, or have a gorgeous garden, or build things in their shed. This is all creativity. Many people think that if they cannot paint or draw, then they cannot call themselves an artist.
But we are all artists. We just have to find our art. Creativity brings us into the present. If not considering how our creativity will be received, then it is an honest, unhindered expression of who we are at the time. Being concerned what others will think of what we create naturally only hinders what we are doing.
I used to see artists as a different breed of people entirely, one that I simply didn’t imagine ever being a part of. And they are a different breed of people. They are the ones who have honoured their creative expression completely, sometimes out of courage, sometimes out of natural expression. That is, they simply couldn’t contain what wanted to come out. In those days, when I thought like that, I was working in the corporate sector and had never imagined life would go down the roads it was to. But even then, I was writing. So I was already an artist. I just didn’t realise it then. I certainly call myself one these days though.
We are all artists. It doesn’t matter what your other ‘work’ is. There is an artist within that needs nurturing. And that part of you will then nurture the rest of you, right back. Creativity keeps us in the moment. It is honest expression. It is playful. It is satisfying. And most of all, in the busy times we live in, it isnecessary.
A friend in his late forties has become so inspired by the folk festivals he has been to, he now wants to learn to sing. So he is off to do a two-day choral workshop in a couple of weeks. It doesn’t matter what age you are. I met a man on the weekend who started to learn the clarinet at age sixty. Another man has just started drawing lessons. He is seventy. A woman I know who always claimed to be a terrible cook has now started cooking lessons and is loving them. I didn’t discover the songwriter within me until my mid-thirties. It really doesn’t matter how old or young you are. There is some form of creativity within you.
So sing, draw, write, sculpt, cook, dig, dance, weld, paint, draw, click cameras, bang drums, or whatever else you have always wanted to do, but as yet haven’t. Give yourself the time. Then give yourself some praise.
Creativity is rarely acknowledged for its massive benefit and its necessity for wellbeing. In addition, it brings like-minded people together, perhaps in a class environment, or around a campfire, or in a communal garden.
Anyway, it’s time to get creative and craft a feast here. Oh how I love the colours of fresh food. May the creative juices be flowing in your world too, whether it’s music, cooking, illustrations, or anything. Just let it flow, friends, let it flow.
As always, thanks for dropping by. It’s been lovely to share this time with you on the verandah, in the glorious autumn sunshine.