A few days ago, I attended a concert at the National Arts Centre, here in Ottawa, to see The Tenors perform with the National Arts Centre Orchestra conducted by Jack Everly.
Much like all of the Pops series concerts I have seen in recent years, the concert brought me on a roller coaster of emotions, between goose bump moments of arias and their triumphant crescendos and moments where I felt a tad verklempt, hearing favourite songs performed live in brilliant new arrangements.
Throughout great performances like that, I can’t help but ask myself, “How do they do it?” How much of it is natural aptitude and how much is hard work? How many thousands of hours each performer put into their craft over the years, to become one with their instruments and to make it look so easy? How hard did each one have to work to achieve this level of proficiency, to produce such beauty that can elicit such strong emotions from spectators?
This inner monologue replays in my head again and again whenever I feel deeply inspired, whether it’s at a concert, in a museum, in a theatre, reading a book or watching a great movie. It’s like a vortex of creativity, swirling around, reaching out and stirring up my own artistic momentum to keep doing what I love doing, keep practicing, work hard and don’t let go.
I sometimes pause and wonder if I will ever get to the same degree of skillfulness and versatility in writing as someone who can pick up an instrument and play a song, just like that. Then I think to myself that I have been known to pull a rabbit or two out of a hat on a few occasions.
Whether it’s a blog post that I was able to commit to paper in one sitting in under two hours (it doesn’t happen often, but it does), a blog post that successfully reached out and really struck a chord with readers, or writing a piece at work that was exactly what was requested, offering the right words at the right time, and being able to do so under crazy time constraints. I reassure myself that I am on my way.
When I think back to my high school years, even though I seemed to display more academic inclination than creative inclination at the time, words could not explain the euphoria I felt in seeing my first play at the National Arts Centre with my drama class (“Moman” by Louisette Dussault), the elation I felt in experiencing my first concerts, or how spellbound I became when watching the TV show “Fame”.
Somehow, I felt drawn to the community of performers but I could not make sense of how or why. I felt like I could be one of them, but wasn’t sure what was my talent, if I had any at all. As with most teenage experiences, those emotions were strong, dramatic and left a lasting impression of how other people’s creativity spurs me on.
My yearning to share in the moment with other creative souls translated into my volunteering to help behind the scenes with the staging of high school shows. I most enjoyed being the official “curtain opener and closer”, which allowed me to be part of the creative vortex and positive energy backstage, offering words of encouragement to the performers seconds before they went on stage.
Similarly, I remember taking on a few gigs as master of ceremonies just to be part of the creative experience of the ensemble. As much as I seem pretty comfortable in front of a crowd, I think I always knew deep down that I was an ideas man and a behind the scenes kind of guy.
Once I finally determined that out of all the creative disciplines, writing seemed to be the one for which I had the most natural aptitude, which I could do at marathon pace and only feel more energized as a result, plus I was already practicing it daily in my career as I often gravitated to writing opportunities without really knowing it, things really came together.
With every artistic event I have attended since, each experience enriches my spirit on so many planes and my creativity feels recharged to the point of wanting to rush back to the drawing board (metaphorically speaking) to do what I love most.
My message to my fellow artists: keep doing what you’re doing and in making it look so easy. Whether you sing, dance, paint, act, write, play an instrument, produce great fashions, produce amazing food or capture great photos, the artistic vortex that spins around you has a ripple effect on me and the writer within.
You have my most sincere congratulations for your talent, hard work, determination and your love for your craft. Most of all, you have my deepest gratitude for the inspiration. Bravo!
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Have a great day,