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Welcome to your Creative Oasis™!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Non-Linear Creative Path (perfect for moms, musicians and people who can enjoy the scenery during a detour!)

(image by www.MinaLeeStudio.com)

I’ve spent the better part of the last two weekends in the recording studio. We were scheduled to finally embark on the mixing phase of my CD project. (Mixing is when you’ve finished recording all of the instruments and vocals and you’re ready to fiddle with knobs, tweak volume levels and generally make all the sounds in your songs come together in the most pleasing way possible.) It’s exciting! I feel a bit like I’m about to give birth again, albeit this time to a 13 song solo CD rather than a 7 lb. 11 oz. baby, but after some nine months in and out of the studio, the analogy rings true.

I’m anxious, excited, and a little impatient to finish this thing, yet, on the other hand, not quite sure that I’m ready for what comes next - much like I remember feeling just before Riley Anna was born. I’d kind of gotten used to being pregnant after nine plus months, but was not so sure about the whole how-to-be-a-mom thing.

As much as I was looking forward to leaving the studio each day with a few more songs completed, we kept coming up with tasty ideas to try here and there and ended up recording more tracks rather than just mixing. We were all enjoying the process too much to really worry about the fact that we’d gotten a bit off track. (Talk about an oasis - the studio time may be my ultimate Mid-Life Oasis!) I know in my heart that the end result will be much richer, fully realized songs.

I realized this was a perfect example of the non-linearity of the creative process. There’s no scientific formula for creating the ideal song. You have a feeling first, and then an idea and then maybe a memory pops up and says “hey would it be weird or wonderful to put sleigh bells on this part?” – so you try playing some sleight bells and see how that sounds. (BTW - it sounded wonderful)

Being open to the non-linear process has been a blessing. Some songs have changed formation, direction and intonation and songs that we thought were ready to stick a fork in (‘cuz those suckers were done!) – have benefited greatly from – “what if” – what if we add a lower harmony here or change the sound of the bass or add a concertina? Winding down the creative path with this music has been the trip of a lifetime for me and a real-life reinforcement of two powerful creative coaching techniques – being open to the non-linear and asking “what if”.

Just as with my own baby girl (now 10!!!!), I’m sure these songs will be more beautiful, meaningful and exceptional to me than anyone else – and that’s okay, because I also believe that like my amazingly intuitive, empathetic, and loving daughter – these songs will (hopefully) touch people in a positive and profound way, like she does every day.

It’s been such a treat to have my husband, Doug, in the studio co-producing with us. And, although Riley Anna remains our greatest creative collaboration to date, she’s still a work in progress, where as, very soon now I will step out of Pleasantry Lane Studios for the final time and the CD will be complete – 13 songs – fully formed and ready to make their way out into the world. I guess that’s why I’m beginning to play the “what if” game with the next phase – the CD release celebration! Great things are brewing and you’ll be the first to know what they are so stay tuned...

All the best from my creative oasis to yours,