Creativity is all about an independent style — yet the creative mind can be influenced in many ways — in painting it may be museums, magazines, books or the internet, whether it be technique or inspiration and in writing everything one reads somehow makes its way into ones use of language. No one is free of influence though a true work of art is completely fresh and untethered.
In straightening a bookshelf today I found over a dozen neatly organized journals dating back at least twenty years—most of which had only five or six pages filled with notes and quotes and snippets of language and art thoughts to be use in later writings and paintings.
In one notebook dated 12/23/13 I copied a section from a New Yorker article written by Adam Gopnick entitled “Two Bands” Duke and the Beatles. In it he talks about the mystery of modern creativity. “There are artists whose genius lies in exploiting other peoples’ talent and we can recognize the exploitation as genius.” It goes on to say that “originality comes in two kinds: originality of ideas and originality of labor, and although it is the first kind that we get agitated about, we should honor the second kind still more.”
There is “WIT” made by the head and spun out into life; and “work” created mostly by fingers engaging with tools as various as tenor saxes and computer keyboards,
e.g. Johnny Hodges chord changes played over and over (until a creative perfection) another “happy accident produced by hard labor.”
In another notebook from 2006 I found some scribblings. With the exception of few lines I didn’t remember writing any of it—the few lines I recognized made me realize it was mine and not something I was transcribing.
Jazz storm of blues
refraction under the ice blue —
smoke curls in a rockin’ bar room
vein blue eyelid tributaries of light
hard blue swallow blue acting out above
smell of clean calm
blue cough of a buss starting up
Penguins breath blue
blue knuckled nuns
steel blue rage as rigid
as steel blue wisdom
our lady of blue intentions
blue prism of sky/lake
the blue memory of the fossil
false blue of the bird wing, hydrangea, wet stone.
Changes (maybe) or simply an exercise to be pitched later.
in a jazz club
eye veined blue as
tributaries in an ice cube
down the alley two
blue knuckled women
rage as rigid as
at the corner the cough of
bus so blue so distant
from a bird’s breath
on the waterfront
gray-blue s-wing and s-way
swapping sky lanes
over the smell
of upturned fish
death’s blue calm
a shiver of blue everywhere:
bird wing, sky waves,