An Ode to the Masterpiece
Listen to the inspiration as you read…
Music. Imagine a song you hear for the first time – instantly the chorus enchants you, and if the song continues it’s mesmerising string of verses to a complete finish, it will be a song for keeps. Nevermind if you never listen to it again. The impression is planted. But now… take a song that begins with a glorious chorus… but the verse that follow… blows the chorus out of the water… you were already more than satisfied with the chorus. The Chorus itself made you forget yourself, but the verses, they just transport you to gods knows where because rarely is the language of music so inexplicably used as to render itself impossible to describe. And within the verses, each melody, each line, a step above the previous. Almost like the creator is outdoing himself with every proceeding melody. You had reached your limit minutes ago, and here you are, taken full speed to realise but for a fleeting moment, that miracles are indeed real. You only see for a moment.
Then you forget the first magnificent effect of the song. Maybe after the first time, maybe after a week. Desensitised is the word. Nevermind that, the moment is worth every bit of its inherent bliss. And how blessed are the people in the world who can always revisit that moment everytime they listen to that song? Not me, I’m always trying to push the boundaries. Been there, done that, let’s move on – what an eroding conception. But simplicity brings an expansive joy. Ok, now take books, films- they work the same way. The rare diamond – every paragraph, every scene, outdoing the previous. There are books which keeps a consistent entangling of the mind, and there are those that just pushes into the twilight zone where you cannot believe what you are reading. The latter has always been an ambition of mine. Just once, if I do it. Just once.
But here’s the thing. The spiritual part of me preceeds the artistic side. It always has. When it really comes down to it, what I say means so much more than how I say it. A part of me is energised by the rawness, it subsides the crystal-headed artist who sees a total picture of a geometry unfolding, who sets up scenarios and events in an aesthetic intuitive-interlinking, then watching the pieces fall into place. Adding to it. There is so much construction that takes place in art. And the artist in me has always been offended at handing the reins over to the Universe to write through me. Which is probably why I hated to just write – freely. There is no construction there. I wasn’t the one painting.
And how frustrated I have been to find that my works were always better when I let the Universe write through me. There was a perfection there that I could never attain on my own. I began to wonder, then, perhaps this was the spark behind all the artists I have admired. So, how crass and improper an idea of trying to take credit for a work. Yet how queazy I feel to be able to say, “It is not I who has done this, but the Lord, who has worked through me.”
Surrender. To totally surrender. How vehemently I have fought the notion that the very crystal clarity of an artist is not his own. Only to be left with a dimmed, wasteful product on comparison – but why not, I was turning away from clarity itself. There is no way around it. Even the thought of feeling grand and accomplished at completing a great work feels like a lie – it is not my work – my limited, oh so less than infinite brain, can’t take credit. You won’t believe, at any time when I open myself to an infinite access of creative intelligence, the words, the imagery – that comes to mind. And then I close off again, saying, “that’s not mine.” How foolish I have been. Trying to grasp the infinite. This is why the Tarot begins with the fool, and ends with it.
Why not allow the Universe to contruct a grander story than I could possibly concieve. A composition that even I don’t fully understand – that I learn from each time I read it.
This makes so much more sense when I think of it in terms of music. I was baffled upon being told that nearly all of the music in the world lacks any real vibration, or brilliance, or heart. I would have thought otherwise. It’s music. Language of the Gods. Even to sing any tune at all, is to touch the essence of the Earth. After all, the Elves brought the music to the Earth – the shine and the life. Even to lightly damper with music, should have a profound significance. Yet the Elves themselves find no inspiration from the music of our civilizations. Didn’t quite fit for me, so I went back to enjoying those special tunes I’d devoted myself to.
Then Dragon channeled a Bard through into his body. A bard who creates with music alone – he sings, and flowers spring, and new species are born. He just lives in a forest and sings. So, positioned himself in meditation pose, turned to me, sitting behind him, told me that now he will show me what real music is all about. Then he began to sing what I would otherwise have thought to be a tuneless, almost heartless, droning chant. I didn’t laugh, because I was too shocked to laugh. This guy wasn’t joking, and he knew what he was talking about. To me, it sounded like noise.
I’ve been wondering about it ever since. It’s moments like those that makes me feel like there is so very very little that I understand. When the Elves brought the music to the earth, when they sang – the heart that makes the music so magnificent was greater than the melody – that it wasn’t about melody, or how we see it, at least. It was about a different kind of listening. I could almost compare it to hearing the song of the bard through filtered eyes – all the colour, subtlety and shade was hidden. Like hearing a jittery song on the radio because the reception wasn’t clear – you hear sprouts of noise. A part of me could certainly accept that when he sang, I was too blind to hear the music.
Which made me question my ability to listen. Recently I’ve been entertaining the thought that, well, if the spiritual nature of music transcends to an utterly different form of listening, then why not integrate the two together? Integrate the earthly soulfulness that we derive from enchanting melodies – and the deeper vibration of spiritual melody, which may as well sound like a droning to the judgemental ear. I’ve always had more respect for the artists who could take highly intelligent topics and translate them into simple and entertaining anecdotes.
How could melody itself have become so mistranslated? Our civilization regards quality music in terms of the complexity of fluctuation – perhaps we have utterly missed the point. Maybe this is why the miracle we feel within music only ever lasts for a moment, and not for an eternity. The difference is in the way we listen.
I was heartbroken when I heard the song of the Bard – I thought, “Oh Goodness, what he is singing is stripped of all the soulful melodies I adore – does it really need to be like this in order to be spiritual?” If what he had sung had moved me by the actual sounds it made – and not merely in vibration – I would have cried tears of bliss at the wonders of the Universe. Now when I think about it, the Universe knows such things. I am sure, he could very well have sung a tune as enchanting to the ear as it was to the spirit. So, if he didn’t, it was probably because I would never have seen that I have been listening to the wrong thing all along. Not until the beauty remains in the song even when it is stripped of melody and fluctuation would I see, that music was never about the tunes.