October always has the feeling of beginnings. All of the holidays are ahead of us. They are lined up and waiting to be accessed. All of the decorations are waiting to be put up, then taken down for the next set of colors and themes to be displayed. The frustrating part of this which we experience very early in life is that these holidays are somewhat brief. While you are in the holiday, you experience it fully, but the next day it is gone, erased, and the next holiday is before you. The anticipation sometimes overshadows the actual event. The year in holidays sometimes seems like a giant circular puzzle in which the pieces are entered one by one, and then fade away as the next is entered.
I have always liked puzzles of all kinds, but especially board puzzles. When I was young we always had puzzles for the holidays, set up on a card table where anyone who wanted to select a piece for a perfect fit could give it a try. I became fairly adept, and so increasingly wanted more difficult scenes or colors schemes. It was this inclination that fed my interest in combining notes and instruments in musical ways and led to my life’s work in doing the same. Transcribing, engraving, arranging, orchestrating and composing have always interested me. They are all intricate and tedious, but the hours spent in any aspect have always posed a challenge and excited me. I have never been bored with the combining of sounds or notes or instrumental colors. Probably because there are so many possibilities and combinations.
Thinking about these possibilities and combinations can happen anywhere and at any time. An idea can appear in your consciousness at any time and anywhere. The only problem I have ever had with this is getting the idea down as quickly as possible so as not to forget it. I found out very early on that these ideas rarely come back, at least in their original form. These ideas are spontaneously generated. A gift. But, where do they come from, and how are they generated at will? I have never had any success in bullying an idea to fit a specific need. Coaxing maybe, but never bullying. As close as I can come to initiating an idea is to feed my conscious or subconscious with as much relevant information as possible until something starts taking shape. In other words, create parameters that will eventually enclose a germ of an idea that can be gradually developed. This takes a fair amount of patience and a large amount of creativity. And it is a lot like working a puzzle; looking for pieces that fit the whole in a seamless manner and with a thought process that moves through space and time and develops in a logical manner. A puzzle has borders (parameters) that enclose the main idea (development) and takes shape gradually to form the whole. Most creativity follows somewhat the same process.
Quiet sometimes helps. We have a tendency to think of quiet as emptiness. A scary place to go and confront the unknown. Anything could be there to attach itself to your consciousness, good or bad. But I have always experienced it as fertile ground. If it has been fed, it will usually produce. If it has not been fed, then there is opportunity to cast your net around this vast universe and be accosted by strange and interesting ideas and situations that can develop into useful material when exposed to the light of day. To me, quiet is friendly and benign, exciting and challenging. There are no borders or limits or impediments. Just peace and fertility of thought which can be experienced anywhere at any time. The only warning is: do NOT experience this when in a conversation with your spouse. The effects are not peaceful. But do use quiet judiciously and you will be rewarded with what has been before this - unknown. It is the reward of pure creativity. Use it wisely.