By Katie Anne Mitchell
I am going to be frank with you folks. We at Art of the Song/Standing “O” Project are in the midst of a transitional phase, which is not without its struggles. And, without going into excruciating detail about my personal life or the personal lives of loved ones around me, conflict, uncertainty and, to be vulnerable yet truthful about it, a fair amount of usurping angst has been present in my life. Coincidentally, and thankfully, this happens to be one of the most creatively productive times in my life.
Recently, in re-listening to a Sam Baker interview Viv asked about his great teachers, he answered that “the great teacher in art is suffering.” I wholeheartedly agree. If you listen to the Sam Baker interview, you will hear an extreme amount of suffering that by far dwarfs what any of us are currently experiencing which he translates into heartbreakingly human art. I bring this up because I believe that the controversy and chaos which breed suffering also happen to be seeds for creativity and creative writing. And I believe, very firmly, in leaning on creativity especially during these chaotic and controversial moments. I think it’s in our nature to gravitate toward creativity to help understand and heal ourselves during uncertain and unhappy times. I think our creativity is a gift to help us cope with an ever-changing world and connect with others in the chaos.
So that’s a formula for creativity. Not the formula, mind you. In the sort of same vein as ‘many paths up the same mountain’ mantra in Zen, I think there’s many paths that light up creativity. That being said, I do think controversy+chaos=creativity in many cases. It starts with controversy bursts into chaos and settles into creativity. A bittersweet recipe to access the imperfection of the human experience. Which takes us, at it so often does here at Art of the Song, back to Sam Baker: “If you look at it right, it’ll sparkle.”