Last night, I went to a party to celebrate my friend Greta’s seventy-fifth birthday. Her children had gathered together a group of her friends for a lovely dinner in a great restaurant. I was lucky to sit next to Greta’s grandson Ben, a talented, intelligent, almost seventeen year old with a curious mind. We talked about being in the arts. His interest is music. He plays the guitar, writes songs, poetry, and composes. He’s very interested in electronics and music. Like me, he loves jazz, but he can play it. I try. So we talked a lot about how to make music and about various musicians. About my days in New York going to jazz clubs, seeing and hearing great musicians. Little did I know at the time how lucky I was.
Ben has lots of interests, knows what he wants, and described it as wanting to do “something”. I know exactly what he means. I said that often, to myself, when I was his age. We lived where there was a barbed wire fence covered in honeysuckle behind our yard. The fence marked off a dairy farm and cows used to graze off the honeysuckle. When it stormed, as it often did in the summer, we could hear lightening striking the fence. A tree stood alone in the middle of the field. There were gashes down the tree from where the lightening had struck it. But the tree stood there until they cut it down when the farm was sold. That tree was the “something” I wanted to do. It was a model for me in my life.
He asked me how I felt about being alone. I really didn’t, don’t, know. I need to be alone to work. And I need people for the pleasure and comfort they give. Then there is the time of contemplation. Solitude is an important part of creativity. I’m not lonely. I am alone and I do enjoy company. And the creative product is for sharing. It’s all one big circle.
Note: It was a lemon cake.