A blank canvas is a thing of beauty in and of itself. It is the starting point for any endeavor, a clean platform from which to proceed. It can also be intimidating as the options it presents can be overwhelming. Where do I start? Any action taken in one direction automatically precludes so many other possibilities. In a way creating begins by limiting, an interesting notion.
I find myself surrounded by blank canvases of all sorts lately. My piano sitting tuned with an empty page and a sharp pencil on the music ledge is a blank canvas. I can sit and watch the sunbeams bounce around the room and write whatever I’d like. The first few notes already cast the song in the direction it was meant to be: slow or fast, happy or sad, wordy or instrumental. I sometimes have no idea what is going to come out and I love the unexpected chances that make a piece of music touch me in some way. It makes me smile to see my notebook filling up with songs and ideas and I like to thumb through the slightly rumpled pages that have already been scribbled on. I enjoy the tangible feel of a written idea; of my emotions caught in pencil strokes.
My basement is it’s own blank canvas. It has become a cozy den in which I have room to play with other musicians. The space has always felt awkward to me and I could never figure the best way to face my keyboard. My friend Shree was here and in no time at all rearranged the space to feel warm and inviting. She perfectly positioned my keyboard, and with some creative lighting it has become a place primed and ready for making music. I now feel I have the perfect space to create. When I sit down there and play it has a whole different feel from my bright airy piano upstairs. I feel cocooned and warm; I’m protected and safe in my plushly carpeted music cave. Many songs of peace and contentment will be written here I’m sure
Even a kitchen is a blank canvas of sorts. When the counters are gleaming and all the dishes are where they are supposed to be; when the fridge and pantry are stocked and I’ve got some good music playing; that’s when I love to be in the kitchen the most. Some of the most amazing food I’ve ever eaten has been home cooked and much of it not by me. I still tell stories of the grilled romaine half with a fried quail egg on top but there was dish after dish of astounding foods that night. It was one of the most unexpected and amazing gastronomic nights I’ve had to date. A masterpiece from a kitchen. (Shawna, you have a gift!)
And then there’s the blank canvas of a word document. The flashing cursor on an empty page. I can write anything and everything or nothing at all. How many aborted attempts at blog posts do I have? Many to be sure. Sometimes I find I’m bored with the subject before I’m even a paragraph in. Sometimes I don’t feel like sharing myself with the world. Sometimes I have to say everything on my mind. Does anyone want to read what I write? Maybe, but when I put out my thoughts and feelings it is usually more for me. Creating is a release for me; musically, verbally, visually, edibly…they are all wonderful ways to put something beautiful in the world. It’s not so much because I think the world needs more beautiful things but just that that’s what I do.
I create. If people happen to like it, that’s a bonus.