Last night an artist that I am a fan of did a secret show. Josh Ritter took the stage at Analog, picked up an acoustic guitar and sang out love, excitement, and inspiration. There was a short question period and I asked the first one: How does your creative process work?
He talked through it, sharing how he gets a melody and then adds the words in his head. He writes it all down when he gets a minute, sometimes without with travel and parenting mercies.
Mid-discussion, he asked how I write. My heart fluttered and I felt a little bit of vomit in my mouth. This guy is in town to play the Ryman and asking about my writing process. I paused – Oh, what? He was still looking at me. I blurted a bit about my poetry, how the second and third stanza comes quickly, and how it’s usually never in order.
He understood. He quoted Cohen, “If I knew where the songs came from, I’d go there more often.” Sometimes we don’t know how long a piece will be, or how it will impact us. He told me, reminded me and the room that the process really only matters to us and it can be different every time. Inspiration can often feel invisible to us but it’s there, waiting for us to make something of it.
After a few more questions and songs, I got pictures with him. He thanked me for the question. He asked more about what books I’m reading and what I’m writing. I gave him a witty line about how I write what paying my bills and the premise of my fiction piece. I was gobsmacked when he smiled and asked more questions about where I am with the fiction.
My husband was beaming with pride when shared how surprised he was that such a dark premise came from my head. He talked with him about his current hit and how I was shocked he knew the words without me sharing it with him. The three of us talked together about how nice it is to be partnered with someone smarter than you. He hugged us again and we left.
It was humbling to hear someone sing so poignantly and be invested in those he was singing to. I wasn’t the only one who felt this. The room was a buzz of adoration in every direction.
As I write this, I’m still beside myself with what could be some sort of external validation. It could be the residue of gratitude that experiences like this fill us up with.
I know it’s the pinnacle of every choice I’ve made up until that point but with more reflection, I get more questions. How do I continue the magic of that interaction? How will I know when it’s my turn to invest in someone, even if for a fleeting moment?
If you know, I’m here to listen and receive it.