by Laura M.
Even if you don’t think of yourself as creative, you are undoubtedly surrounded by creative people. Maybe it’s your grandma who’s a quilting guru, your best friend who can draw a cat in 5 seconds flat, or a brother who can play piano by ear. These creative people touch our lives (no six degrees of separation here).
What I’m curious about is how people who bill themselves as non-creative relate to those in their lives who are creative. And what happens when the non-creatives get pulled into the creatives’ world?
I was lucky enough to witness such a phenomenon on Valentine’s Eve. I live in Nashville, aka Music City. We take our moniker seriously. We have writer rounds in hardware stores, live concerts with thousands of people on the riverside and everything in between. And on Saturday, February 13, some fine folks hosted the 8th annual Love is Deaf concert.
The concert is a vehicle to showcase couples, one of whom is a musician or songwriter and one who is not-so-musically-inclined. Each couple performs one song. This year, there were 30 couples!
I was at the show to support my dear friends Joan and Brett Bryant. Brett is a professional musician and Joan is, well, not a musician. She would tell you that she can’t carry a tune in a bucket. But they had been to this concert before, and Joan was brave enough to participate this year.
Joan got a first-hand taste of what it’s like to pick out a song, dive into its meaning to relate to the song, arrange the song to suit their performance, rehearse it, practice with a microphone and, ultimately, stand in front of an audience of strangers and friends and sing. She had never in her life done this before!
Brett, in turn, was pulled back in time, remembering his first experience of getting comfortable with a mike, feeling out the key to suit the singer’s voice, flashing back to the anxiety of performing in front of a live audience. The experience also meant that his spouse now understands his world a little better and has a deeper appreciation for it.
Back to Saturday night – it was a packed house:
Joan and Brett were the second to last couple to perform that evening. I’ve known Joan for several years, and I marveled at how excited she was during the two hours before she was due on stage. I kept thinking, “I’m pretty sure I’d be in the bathroom throwing up if I were her right now.”
Apparently she had been coaching herself, reassuring herself that it was like talking in front of an audience, something she’s had to do for work. The difference, as she found out, is that when you’re on stage in a dark club with bright lights on you, you can’t see the audience. So you don’t know if you’re losing them or if they’re right there with you.
In Joan and Brett’s case, the audience WAS right there with them. Joan noticed that the room got quiet (which was not the case for the majority of other couples who performed) and could hear the audience laughing at the appropriate parts in their performance. They had chosen to perform “Beth” by KISS. The song is written from the perspective of a musician on the road to his lonely girlfriend Beth. Joan came up with the idea that she could be Beth and Brett could be singing the song to her. She created some cute rejoinders that had the audience in stitches.
Afterwards, many strangers came up to Joan and Brett with compliments like, “You guys rocked it!” and “You were awesome!” Joan beamed from ear to ear. “I feel like a rock star!” she said. Yet another sensation that Brett has had the joy of feeling that Joan can now relate to.
I was fully inspired by these lovebirds’ willingness to be vulnerable and creative together. My boyfriend, James, and I have already agreed that we’re going to participate next year. As for you, at the very least, could you sit in your loved one’s world? Share in that experience with them, even if you don’t participate? Ask how they came up with the concept for the painting, what drove their choice of colors, why they selected that word or picked that key for a song. I bet they’d love to share that with you.
This post is lovingly dedicated to Toni Masercola Lyng, a bright angel who knows quite a lot about sharing.