Wooing Words — a Poetic Reflection

It didn’t come to me like a dove or a bow-kissed sky.

It came to me like a chain,

And a ball, 

And a chunk of long, hard time. 

At Christmas, it was laughter, 

Sprung out of silence 

Like birdsong in a winter field. 

But Mondays…

It was the quotidian traffic of words and syllables and letters that desperately needed an officer 

To shout, and blow his whistle, and 

Move them along.

I’m learning to shout like the officer.

I see his uniform, and the shiny buttons on his coat,

The orderly way the words obey his commands.

I want to be like that, but 

Characters are capricious creatures, and philosophies even more fickle.

Still, I’m finding there’s a knack of it.

There’s a time for harsh words and whistles that shriek above the street, 

But there’s a friendship, too. 

It’s a hospitality, 

Like old Mrs. Reyburne, who takes me in and fills my hands with tea and biscuits.

I’ve got to offer tea to even the least of these letters.

I’ve got to fill them up with sweets and let them overflow and spill out into meaning,

Word Puddles 

of reflected shapes and refracted light

That coalesce

To form the rainbow that wasn’t there before,

And brings the olive branch at last into view.

It didn’t come to me like a dove or a bow-kissed sky,

Until I asked it to come in and stay a while.

Searching for Inspiration? Stop it!

A grassy field with mountains in background. Photo by Lachlan Ross on Pexels.com.

I waste a lot of my life searching for inspiration, or maybe using the excuse that that’s what I’m doing, when really what I’m doing is scrolling mindlessly through facebook, getting trapped in the youtube wormhole, or sorting through old files on my computer. I’ve always been a good procrastinator. Probably it comes naturally at some level, but the pro-procrastinator quickly realizes that she has to come up with excellent reasons for her procrastination. One of mine is that I just haven’t “felt that spark” to start writing yet, so I need to wait a little longer until it comes. More often than I would like, the process continues until the spark of desperation, rather than inspiration, arrives, and I realize I have a quickly approaching deadline and have to get to it.

While this strategy is effective in situations where there is a firm external deadline, it is utterly useless in situations, like my own independent projects, where the only deadline is set, and can easily be adjusted, by me. This leads me to believe that my “search for inspiration” method leaves a lot to be desired, and is probably seriously stunting my productivity, especially because I’m not sure I’ve ever actually been struck by inspiration while on these absent wanderings through the virtual environment.

People have different opinions about the way creativity works. I’ve heard some say that “forcing” creativity is not even possible, but I don’t see how that jibes with the centuries of commissioned music and art that we consider among the most magnificent human works in history. As far as I can tell, if you don’t dig the well, you’ll never get the water. I’m not saying digging wells is necessarily the most fun… it’s a sweaty task, and you could be exposing yourself to some poisonous gases on the way, but it’s worth it when you finally have a source of fresh, clean water at your disposal. Keep in mind, too, that the more you dig wells, the better you will be at doing it. It will always be work, but you will grow in strength, technique, and efficiency as you go.

I feel like if I applied my “search for inspiration” method to digging a well, it would be like wandering around a field waiting for a shovel to fall out of the sky and start hacking at the ground of its own volition while I busy myself examining daisies and cloud formations. A toddler could tell me that ain’t gonna get me water, but for some reason I’m convinced it’ll one day bring me art. 

Alls I’m saying is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is the definition of insanity… and I’m tired of being creatively insane.

How Can Music Therapy Help Those Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired?

It was always interesting to participate in discussions about music therapy for adults with disabilities in my master’s program, because even as I thought about how I could be of assistance to that population, I had to recognize that I could actually be considered a part of that population. What could music therapy do, or have done, for me as a blind person? 

 

Early intervention 

 

For children who are born blind, or lose their sight at an early age, music therapy can be a powerful tool for teaching valuable skills and redirecting negative behaviors before they become ingrained.

Common “blindisms”, such as eye-pressing or rocking, may be reduced. Social skills, such as directing one’s gaze, learning to hear body language, and developing one’s own gestural communication can be improved. It may also aid blind or visually impaired children in developing motor skills, learning to identify and discriminate between sounds, and learning to use auditory cues for orientation and navigation. 

 

Social Engagement 

 

Blindness can often be associated with isolation and social exclusion. In addition to teaching essential social cues, music therapy provides an opportunity for quality social interaction. This is true regardless of age or ability level.

 

Confidence building 

 

Whether working with a child at 7, or an adult of 50, confidence in one’s skills as a blind person is hugely important, and could be the difference between a fulfilling, independent life, and an empty existence trapped at home. Participation in music therapy has been shown to develop confidence in other populations, and could certainly be applied in this context as well.

 

Creativity and adaptability 

 

Disability in general always brings challenges, but it’s the way that one responds to those challenges that makes all the difference. An ability to problem solve, find new ways to do old things is an invaluable skill. Musical improvisation and collaboration may be one way to improve in this.

 

Coping with grief, depression, and anxiety as the result of vision loss 

 

Losing one’s sight is traumatic in and of itself, and depending on the cause of vision loss, can also be associated with other traumas that need to be addressed. Music therapy offers an opportunity for creative self-expression and a healthy option for working through difficult emotions in a safe space.

 

Looking back, I know I could have benefited greatly from music therapy in the ways I’ve mentioned. Indeed, I think I have benefited in some of those ways even just from participating in music therapy as a student and practitioner.

 

If you or your child are blind or visually impaired and would like to explore music therapy further, feel free to get in touch by emailing:

Contact.OpportunityUnleashed@gmail.com

Visiting our facebook page, or contacting another music therapist in your area.

Also check out:

Why We Love Music Therapy for Our Blind Son