The beauty in creating is not in the newness, but in the finding- the familiar. If you have written something, or painted something, or even taught something- you know what I mean.
When I wrote a song, I knew it when I found it. Ah…there it is. If the words carved out the melody I was searching for, I usually thought it was already a song I’d heard somewhere else at first.
Because I recognized it.
It was like that with your face.
Einstein once said that Mozart’s music “was so pure it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master.” He believed the same of physics, that beyond observations and theory lay the music of the spheres- which he wrote, revealed a “pre-established harmony” exhibiting stunning symmetries. The laws of nature, such as those of relativity theory, were waiting to be plucked out of the cosmos by someone with a sympathetic ear.”
I didn’t write down the source of the above, but I wrote it in my quote collection many years ago. Not because I’m comparing my song-writing to Mozart! But because this concept speaks hope to me.
I wrote about it in an essay included in my grad school thesis: “It feels like I’m searching for something that is already there and when I hit upon it, when I find that chord, it’s not that I create something altogether new, but it’s more like I have found what I was looking for, something familiar and yet nothing plagiarized. I usually have to ask myself, ‘Have I heard that before?’ but when I realize I haven’t, it’s euphoric, because I recognize it nonetheless. I feel like those notes are out there somewhere and I’ve found them and connected with something much greater than myself. I want to play it over and over again, as soon as I wake up in the morning and right before I go to bed at night.
I suppose it’s that connection with the “something much greater” that gives me hope now. If I am participating in a creation that is laid out in a way so organized that we can “find things”- patterns and laws…then possibly that is because there is a Creator who truly made something out of nothing.
Writer V.S. Naipaul says this, “I follow a thread till I find something I was looking for. When I find it, I stop.”
Yes, this is exactly it.
Vladimir Nabokov writes, “The pages are still blank, but there is the miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”
Yes- in the finer moments of creation- one can sense this- it’s all there already.
The act of creating was a huge part of our relationship wasn’t it? From the very first day when we met to play each other our songs and see if we might work together musically in the future. So, I go back to that…to the creating.
To the finding.
We wouldn’t be able to hear it with our ears, but did you know that there’s a black hole 250 million light years away playing a B flat note? I read and article back in 2003 in the NY Times detailing this phenomenon and forwarded it from my cube to you at yours.
So, when I find myself literally searching to see your face and imagining the relief and recognition I will feel if only I could see you walking towards me on the city street, I think of these things. Of finding notes that are already placed. I take comfort in my place as explorer and discoverer, not creator. In an infinite universe of dark space, there’s nothing I can do but sail on in my very small and battered ship hoping to discover the music…and the beauty…squinting at a narrow strip in the distance that just might be land.