Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Blue Flame

There are moments of creativity that are spontaneous and Heisenbergian. If you try to make them happen, they don't. If you try to observe them too hard, they dissolve. If you try to repeat them, you can't. They are the true moment of jhana, the blue diamond of the net of Indra, or simply, the blue flame. We live for these moments because they form the clearest memories in which emotion and motion blend into perfect expression of desire, longing, and completion.

I was sitting outside the rehearsal for the musical last Sunday night in the entrance way for the city hall where rehearsals are being held. Two rooms away, forty or so teen agers and pre-pubescents were learning the complex choreography for their scenes in the Emerald City. I took my nylon string Godin, a very serviceable work axe, to practice classical pieces and noodle improvised sections because the entrance area is a sixty foot tall enclosure with a deep echo clear as the glass windows that make up the walls. This room produces a beautiful sound with nylon strings. I was improvising an arrangement for "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" because, given the show, this tune is stuck in my head like a 2x4 wooden beam stuffed through a tree by a tornado.

One of the principals in the show is an opera diva who for this show plays the part of Auntie Em. The community chorus is loaded with singing talent and as the Wizard/Professor in the show, neither she nor I sing in it. As I sat there noodling, she came out to leave for the night, then stopped for a moment and began to sing the song that in the show is sung by our 15 year old ingenue.

For just a few moments, in the late night dark, in the cold entrance way, we had a perfect moment of collaboration. There was no planning, no words of direction or even suggestion, just a pure blue flame that only comes from the lack of direction, the absence of will. It comes of a shared desire for emotional expression. It was beautiful, clear, pure, clean, so satisfying and unrepeatable.

To be in the flame, for the perfect moment, that is why we trained, why we kept our gifts alive even past the peak of our ambitions in the world. To feel the flame, that is enough. It is the perfect expression, and when the last note dies in the echo, we breathe that note, release it, and are complete.

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