BB Webb as BB Webb!

Exploring the Possibilities

I’ve got an idea! A Creativity Salon… July 5, 2009

To me, we’re brought onto the planet to create, to fulfill our individual soul’s purpose….AND we ALL have the inherent ability to create on some level. Just my theory.

It might be by being the best cupcake maker in your neighborhood, or that you build sky scrapers like Howard Roarke or to manifest epic films as Steven Speilburg does. It also might to to raise your children bright and strong.

Though let me pause a moment and forgive my diatribe, BUT….yes, birthing children is indeed a creative act, but good Lord, how many people consciously choose to RAISE HUMAN BEINGS! Don’t get me started there…fodder for a rich and colorful treatise on why I think people should go to school and pass numerous tests before they procreate. Anyhoooooo…..

I DO NOT feel as though the essence and importance of nurturing the creative spirit is addressed enough in most of our school systems. There is too much focus, I feel, on THE right answer. A creative mind can find many answers to the same question, problem, issue. Creativity to me is the bedrock to all else. Knowing we each have a purpose and the power to create unleashes the spirit within, builds confidence, a personal drive.

I read an article in a magazine years and years ago called ‘UTNE Magazine’, the best of the alternative press. There was a great collection of articles on creativity. One section talked about the idea of a ‘Creativity Salon’, a place where people could attend and have their hand at any of the arts, singing, dancing, writing, twirling, drumming, cooking, tightrope walking, acrobatics and on and on….

I love the premise, the idea that this ‘center’ of creative exploration would give folks of all ages the opportunity to ‘play’ to experiment in an environment which encouraged people to try, to not worry about looking bad, sounding bad, ‘bombing’ AND without the intent of having to SELL their talents. They’d not worry about having to BE a singer, but rather, just to BE someone who sings, who dances, who sculpts, writes or cooks with originality and individual expression. A place to experiment and play.

Marc Chagall Parigi dalla finestra 1913: A favorite of mine.

Marc Chagall Parigi dalla finestra 1913: A favorite of mine.

My discouragement as an artist came when I realized I had to find a way to make a living doing what I loved. I wasn’t trained in how to produce income from what I did, to make it marketable. And you’d think a Graduate program at a University would think of how to bridge the gap between being a ‘learned actor’ to how to make a living in and around that area of expertise.

I’m generally rather resourceful. I created children’s shows to make money during Graduate School, (juggling fire clubs, walking on my hands, telling stories, sculpting balloon animals. It makes me laugh now and seems so long ago). I made what THEN was very good money doing tv commercials and did a lot of radio voice overs. I’ll never forget being in a radio studio once doing a short stint, some commercial. The fellow playing my male counterpart in the commercial asserted himself in a rather exasperated voice,

‘BeeeeBeeeeee! Why focus on all that theatre stuff when you could easily make 6 figures doing this work. You’re really good!!!!’

I didn’t want to do only radio commericals AND I’m not motivated by money. I wanted to do what I wanted to do.

However…. I do recall something my father told me on one very rare solo visit I had with him when I was studying, and creating material in Maine. I asked him something around the idea of money, not sure what exactly.

My father, Bob, replied to his only daughter, ‘Well, money isn’t everything, but it does rank right up there with oxygen.’ I’ll never forget that.

Marc Chagall Promenade

Marc Chagall Promenade

I loved my father. I also regretted that he didn’t ‘get’ me. Since his death about 2 years ago, I’ve had visions of him and heard whisperings in my ear (yes, from him); I feel closer to who he was and know my soul somehow chose him as my father for a reason. What I learned through him was most valuable. I don’t mention him as much as I might as he wasn’t the warm, fuzzy guy in my life, nonetheless, the impact he made on me and the love he did have for me was palpable. He wasn’t especially learned in ‘how’ to love and that was unforunate.

I do know that a daughter needs a father, a male to reflect from, to better know herself in the world and it needn’t come from a biological father or an ‘Ozzie & Harriet’ family setting. (don’t make me rattle off statistics)! And I’m not suggesting either that your ‘mate’ BE your father, but I feel a strong, supportive male presence, perhaps that GROUNDING force is key to a woman, helps her see herself from a different vantage point.

So I relate well to Chagall’s painting to the left. There are many ways to get to where we are and/or want to be and they are ALL perfect. I appreciate what I did glean from knowing my father.

Okay…now, back to the Creativity Salon. I recently decided to take singing lessons at Jan Smith’s Studio, Jan the well known ‘Vocal Coach to the Stars’ having ‘ushered’ in the grandiose talent of folks like Usher, India Arie, Rob Thomas. Jan and my friend Lee Davis both stellar stars in their own right….talent over the charts…Jan and Lee used to work together in Jan’s band and collaborated on many a song and ‘album’.

I work with Heidi Higgins, a coach who Jan has had working with her for many moons. Heidi is perfect for me, patient, nurturing, loving, honest and well, I’ll stress patient again. She’s also a great, great singer, (as shared by Lee) who has worked with all kinds of vocalists, even the rank beginners, like me.

I’ve never felt so vulnerable and lost, actually had huge walrus tears well up in my eyes at my first lesson, (and a few lessons thereafter). I’ve spoken publically, live to thousands of people, can host a tv show to the world or pinch hit in any public arena, but singing, oooooooooh Lord, what is it? Singing touches something so vulnerable and tender within me. I’ve talked with Jan Smith about this. She gets it. Hearing her sing makes me fall to my knees. She summons a part of herself that is so real, so lovely, so deep. I want to go there.

Or, just feel confident expressing some ditty on key, in my style, with fun.

It drives me to distraction to know there is a mode of expression that I can’t YET get my arms around. But I will and this is where I have promised myself to be patient. I’m eager to learn my style, develop my technique, grow that muscle in the same way I might develop a bicep or train my brain to count to three before I REACT. (I can hear laughter in the background).

So, a Creativity Salon! I’d like to create a place for people to feel open and free to express, to tap into their creative potential.

I’ll end with a short story. (Right)! A former teacher/theatre director of mine, Suzanne Blackburn, (goodness knows where that lovely woman is now….last spotted with a new husband in Hawaii some 20 years ago)…her mother was one of the creators of Jiminy Cricket for Disney. Apparently Disney was a real task master, driving his creative team to absolute exhaustion. It finally became too much for Shirley (I think that was her name), and she retired from Disney. Nonetheless, her creativity had to go SOMEWHERE and my friend/teacher Suzanne shared how she’d come home and her mother would have made hundreds of cupcakes with original, varied decorations and colors lined up all over the kitchen counter, into the dining room, piled high in the laundry and covering the dining room table.

Creativity needs expression.

And from a foreward to a book entited ‘How to Be a Creative Genius (in 5 minutes or less)’, Joey Reiman, (Thinker, Founder and CEO of Brighthouse LLC, Joey an advertising legend in the Atlanta area), in the forward to this book, he writes:

‘Creativity is God’s work. You are a creator. That’s why we feel so divine when we are lost in our craft. Ironically, we are not lost at all; in fact, this is where we find ourselves. My father left me a note before passing on. It reads: ‘Creative energy, when not used, turns to depression.’ Nothing could be truer. Conversely, creative energy, when harnessed, has voltage to light the world. Creativity blinds the darkness.’

I would like to light up the world. Perhaps you’ll come join me!

With love,

BB Webb


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