Recovering One's Creativity

Dear John Fehringer,

This has been an incredible week for me, following the Creativity Workshop you led last Saturday, and I wanted to let you know about it.

I came to the workshop hoping to loosen up my "creativity muscles" and expecting I'd probably work on something visual or movement related. Your talk and demonstrations helped me to feel more clear that I AM (and every human is) innately extremely creative. I also appreciated the points about creativity's importance (creative solutions are needed to turn things around in the world!) and how "mental health" oppression is a key tool used to suppress creativity. Something definitely "clicked" for me. I understood that all that was holding me back was old hurts and the subsequent embarrassment, humiliation, and fear. Nothing I don't know how to deal with!

When the time came for my session, I felt intensely drawn to the grand piano. Music and movement have been the areas of creativity in which I've felt the least capable. I've been working on movement and dance for a while, and my distress there is shifting. I've also been reclaiming singing in the last few years, with great joy. But I'd basically given up on ever playing an instrument. So I spent the hour of my session at that piano, sobbing hard while at first pounding, and then playing, keys. Aside from being able to visually locate a "C" key and maybe peck out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," I've had no prior experience with the piano. I did take two years of awful violin lessons when I was nine to ten and sang in the church choir when I was younger than that, but that was it as far as my formal music education was concerned. Lots of the "typical" bad music experiences (mostly in the form of very hurtful things said to me by elementary school music teachers) came up for discharge as I sat at that grand piano. By the end of the hour I was creating tunes that pleased me immensely, and I was starting to experiment with how two or three notes sounded when played together.

I've spent at least forty-five minutes (but usually more like an hour and a half) playing the piano every day since. As I sit there, I shake and shake-and mostly I feel completely enthralled and compelled to play. (If I have time between appointments in my work day, I hunt out the nearest piano or keyboard shop, borrow earphones, and sit and play.) All this week I have been experimenting with the keyboard, figuring what goes together, both creating my own tunes and figuring out how to play songs I've heard. Yesterday I did my first experimenting with following written music and learning how I'm "supposed to" hold my fingers and how to use all the fingers on both hands to play. But mostly I'm not worrying at all about the "shoulds" and just figuring it out and playing. I don't have a piano, so I have been playing the community piano late at night and playing some on a borrowed "mini" keyboard.

This whole piano thing has been a completely unexpected surprise! I am really, really having fun and find it totally compelling. I look forward to sharing some of what I've created with other people. Another goal is to create music together with others who are creating also. (Thinking about that is a wonderful way to get off lots of embarrassment!) I'm finding that the more I play, the better I'm functioning in other areas of my life, too. (I haven't totally sorted out the connection yet, but it does make sense to me intuitively.)

Thank you very much for leading the workshop and for sharing your thinking about creativity.

Linda Williamson
Seattle, Washington,

Last modified: 2016-08-22 02:11:22-07