As a creative, don’t you find that your overactive imagination can get you into trouble? I am still working on turning my imagination into a tool for positivity. All too often, the crazy thoughts in my head ask each other to dance. I bet you know what I am talking about.
I find that writing takes me out of the crazy
There is something in the act of writing and creating art that is magic. Holocaust victim Anne Frank wrote this when she was just a teen: I can shake off everything as I write, my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.
When I write poetry and music, there is a part of me that has to go back to where my anxiety lives. But the very act of putting that emotion into words and music separates me from the anxiety. It is a release. I find I can breathe again. I know somebody, somewhere down the line is going to appreciate, or hopefully, even be helped by that poem or lyric.
Sometimes artists get stuck in the art-making
It is the paradox of singing the blues: you can’t live there all of the time. I can remember when I was a young music student and just starting to experience the energetic flow of making great music. Many times, it was like it wasn’t even me singing; I felt the song and the notes and the music as if it came from elsewhere and sang through me. For many years, I chased that sensation.
But you know what: when it comes, it comes. Just be grateful.
I recently had an opportunity to sing with a choir in Southern California. As a thank you for the choir director, I brought along a copy of my one published song, from years ago. To my great surprise, the choir director not only already knew my song, when she started playing it on the piano, her choir sang along. It was amazing and so unexpected. I was deeply moved. One of the choir members became teary as she told me how special my song was to her.
It just goes to show that you can’t measure success by royalties
That one song’s journey to publication took eight years. I switched careers before it even became accepted. Fifteen years later — and I only get a check in alternate years when I reach the minimum, thanks to my mom purchasing more copies to give to her friends. (Thanks, Mom!)
In the fall of 1991, my boyfriend dumped me and then I got mono. I had a lonely, single dorm room and composed that song on my Ensoniq SQ 1+ keyboard in one night. Did I ever think it would be published by a national company, recommended for 9/11 memorial services, and sung back to me by a community choir in San Diego?
Never. I just had a feeling that I needed to get out.
Denise Dwyer D’Errico is a poet, author, musician, wife, mother, and a seeker of her own truth. She has written and self-published a poetry collection entitled A Maze in Grace and contributed to Teaching with Harry Potter: Essays on Classroom Wizardry from Elementary School to College, edited by Valerie E. Frankel. Denise has over twenty years of experience as a liturgical musician, as cantor, piano accompanist, and music director of adult choirs, children’s choirs, musicals, and handbell choirs. She is the composer of “Be Still,” a liturgical choral piece published by the leading church music publisher GIA. She has also provided piano, vocal, and music theory instruction for children and adults. She has spoken to audiences on parenting and autism awareness. Denise has
Denise has over twenty years of experience as a liturgical musician, as cantor, piano accompanist, and music director of adult choirs, children’s choirs, musicals, and handbell choirs. She is the composer of “Be Still,” a liturgical choral piece published by the leading church music publisher GIA. She has also provided piano, vocal, and music theory instruction for children and adults. She has spoken to audiences on parenting and autism awareness. Denise has particular interest in illustrating harmony among seemingly unrelated subjects. And she really loves crème brûlée.
Her newest release, Dee’s Dishes, is a collection of personal essays and recipes, available now on Amazon.
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