Monday, April 12, 2010

A Cat On a Dog With a Rat

This past weekend I went to the Fort Worth Arts Festival. Parking was a pain as always, but I knew it would be worth the hassle once we got to Sundance Square. The elevator stopped on every floor in the parking garage and was filled to max capacity by the time we got to level four. I was wedged between sweaty-bearded-guy, happy-husband, and elevator-button-panel-that-hadn’t-seen-a-cleaning-rag-in-who-knows-how-long. So, you can imagine my panicked expression when the doors opened on the second floor, revealing father-with-gargantuan-stroller and wife-with-fussy-baby.

You know what came next… “Maybe we could fit.” My OCD kicked in as I reached for grimy-door-open-button to be courteous. I could feel the sweat beading up on the back of my hand, and I’d swear there was a polarity clash because my finger was mysteriously repelled by the grotesque aura coming from the seriously-needed-some-antibacterial wash-button-panel. After a quick study, father-with-gargantuan-stroller realized his crew would not fit into the two-foot by two-foot space that was available between happy-husband and family-of-five-with-backs-turned-to-us, saving me and my finger from exposure to germus maximus.

One more drop, and we were home free. When the doors opened I had a flashback from two years prior when a person in a full-blown, Stormtrooper costume greeted happy-husband and me on the street level. Since, we’d learned to expect the unexpected, and this year did not disappoint. Following the crowd through the streets we came to the first crosswalk where we saw the most awesome thing ever—mainly because I’m a pet person. A man named Gregory Pike had a mouse sitting on a cat sitting on a dog on a leash in the middle of the Square. Their names are Booger, Kitty and Mousey, and you can see tons of videos of them online. Sadly I did not have my camera, but you can visit their Web site if you’re interested.

Booger, Kitty and Mousey were the highlight of my day. The festival was packed with artists showcasing in just about every medium. One of my favorites was a man from Canada who did a series of prints on plaster. It was a blast and gave me more story ideas than I could ask for.

My suggestion is to venture out and do something fun this month. You never know who or what you’ll see. And, if you happen to run into me on an elevator, please know that I will push the button for you if needed. Now, if it’s a bathroom door that needs opening, and there are no paper towels around and I have no jacket hemline to assist, you’re on your own.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Music and the Creative Process

On an evening drive through town, I tuned in to our local jazz station to clear my mind of all the dialogue and scene revisions I’d worked on for the past week. My husband asked why jazz, to which my first response was, “I don’t know. I just like it.” Knowing that was not the kind of surface-level answer he wanted to hear, I dug deeper.

What is it about jazz that helps me unwind? I thought about all the playlists I had created for different scenes in my book. It ranged from rock to classical, but I didn’t have any jazz from my collection assigned to any part of my story. I also wondered why I had chosen certain songs over others.

Eventually I made the connection. I started out as a dance major in college and have used all kinds of music for choreography, except jazz. For me, music helps bring form and shape to contemporary movements in writing and dance. A haunting piano medley or a raging rock song can inspire tone and mood.

My mind works on story telling as it did on choreography, carrying the audience or reader on a journey through beginning, middle and end, often flowing in theme and purpose much like a song. So, why didn’t I have jazz in my playlist when I love it so? It was a combination of voice and feel.

When I listen to other genres of music, I find myself creating whether its dance or writing. But with jazz, I’m sort of awestruck. To me, the music dances all by itself. Instead of imagining how I can put something together to follow the flow of the music, jazz swirls me around in its current as I drift downstream in its blue waters.

Since music is a useful tool in the creative process, I’d like to know your thoughts. What music inspires you to be creative? And, why?