The other night I was watching a pledgeweek replay of a tribute concert for Bob Dylan on PBS. It got me thinking about an interview I had seen where Dylan was asked where he got the inspiration to write songs like "Blowin' In the Wind" and "The Times They Are A-Changing", songs that expressed the deepest feelings of many of us who came of age in the 60's. He gets this really really sad look on his face and he says, I don't know --- they just came through me and I wrote them down. The way he looked, you knew that hadn't happened to him in a long while. For a time, he was a clear channel. Or he was "visited by his Muse". He didn't know how to make it happen again and though he's written some pretty good stuff since, nobody's looking to him as a prophet anymore.
It must be a relief to some degree.
I used to spend a week each year at Nancy Crow's Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio when I was making "art" quilts. One of the workshops I took was with David Walker and he had us start each morning with meditation and drawing with our non-dominant hands to left-brain type music. Vollenweider. That sort of thing. The idea was to imagine ourselves as clear channels --- open to the creative juices of the Universe. For some reason, it hadn't occured to me before that workshop that there was a spiritual component to the creative process.
At the best of times, I feel like the piece already exists in its whole and perfect form, in a parallel universe or heaven or someplace. The Platonic ideal, maybe. Like that quote that's going around on Pinterest, "If you get out of the way, the art will make itself." My job is to bring it into being. I NEED to do that to be happy.