For an individual truly involved in an ongoing creative process, a cycle of creative activity which involves transformation of concept to concrete form, there is lots of time spent completely alone. Or so it would seem.
Even in collaboration – for example where one individual will lay down a guitar track and another the groove, or one will write the lyrics and the other the melody, that particular process of laying down the guitar track or writing those lyrics is an individual process.
So exploring this experience of solitude, loneliness, isololation, these feelings of disconnection from the world, might be valuable in terms of impacts on our mental balance and productive capacity. For if this experience of deep solitude, isolation, creates depression, we either embrace that depressed spirit somehow, channeling it productively, or we are choke ourselves.
For many of us, it might be helpful to recall that the creative work of artists may be thought of as an extension of the ongoing process of creation in nature. Some of us understand this as G-d’s continuous creative role in the universe. Artists are given a special gift – to partner in this universal and ongoing process of creation. Artists transform concept to concrete forms – in essence – create something from nothing. For concept unexpressed has little connection to the reality that is perceived by most of us in this physical world. Concept needs expression. That’s what art is – the result of a process which transforms concept into tangible forms – forms which others can relate to.
In your darkest moments of creative isolation, if you have found a way to maintain your joy, or at least your energy to work, you may find strength in considering that these moments may be your daily moments of strongest connection with the ultimate universal Creative Energy, the Creative Force, G-d. The great artists realize that these moments in their process, when they are completely engaged in the the technical work of transforming concept to concrete, are moments when they have completely negated themselves (self-nullification) to a higher purpose – they have in effect become a vehicle for something larger than themselves.
In sports, the great cricket star Sachin Tendulkar talks about reaching and maintaining “the zone”. This is his condition of total self-negation to his cricket goal. He becomes a cricket vehicle, not Tendulkar – fully engaged in effective cricket execution.
Likewise we understand this condition is achieved by the great jazz artists. The improvisation flows through them. They are not thinking about individual notes, or that they are executing those notes. They have become totally unified with the music and the instrument they are playing, and the concepts they are expressing in the music. They are channeling.
Likewise with composers – as they explore sounds and harmonic combinations – as they go deeper and deeper into their exploration, they lose themselves more and more, and discover melody and harmony and orchestral combinations unexpected, unplanned and unique.
Sure there is a connection with an original conception. But as often as not the original conception is a starting point – as the artist progresses through the creative process the conception matures, sometimes transforms altogether. It is in the execution that the original conception becomes clearer – what was actually underlying the original conception becomes evident. Was it really about conveying an emotion, as opposed to a particular subject? for example.
Hold on to these precious moments of discovery – of revelation, when you are merely a vehicle for transforming thought into physical reality. Understand that the discoveries you make, the unexpected tangible expressions of thought you devise, are special revelations of the Creator, given especially to you. Of course it is a gift to share – so look forward also to moments of reconnection when this meaningful work is ready for the public.
You are not alone – ever. You are part of G-d’s work in a special way, and you are part of a special community of individuals who have the ability and capacity to embrace and engage in the creative life.