Creativity – An Interview with Beverly Rieger
My #CreateEveryDayOfMay hashtag theme flooded me with inspiration – in everything I saw, everything I listened to, everything I read. It’s always remarkable to me how just opening to an idea – just piquing an awareness – brings it to me tenfold. A lovely perk of our solid connection to the universe, yes?
During this time, my friend, Beverly Rieger, was consistently on my mind. She’d float in and out of my consciousness as I was working on an art piece, checking email, making dinner. And listening to music. I ended up going through the 57 songs in my ipod’s ‘Beverly Playlist’ several times over. (Yes, I still have an ipod!)
And so why? Why was Beverly so present for me during my creative month of May? I believe it’s because she is one of the most consistently creative people I know. And I don’t mean only that she creates a fair amount of ‘product’, but rather that her LIFE is wholly and steadily an act of creating. I’ve known her for 25 years and every conversation we have, every writing or song that pours out of her, is an extension of her inner being. Her Musings blog is just a sample of her heart and inner self.
I asked her a few questions to explore her creative practices a little more.
I really focused in on the titles of your pieces when I listened through them this last time around and wondered…when you write a song called ‘Joy’ for instance, are you invoking joy as you write it, or are you seeking joy, or are you holding space for others to feel joy or how would you explain it?
Beverly: Joy is an energy and a being; and the music that comes carries the vibration essence of joy. It is not doing anything but being joy. When people experience the music, their body/mind/spirit will be affected by the vibration that is joy and may come into synchronicity with that vibration. It may not feel like “joy” as we might imagine it because it is a being and a presence. But affecting people is really not an intention on my part. The music comes and wants to be played and I do it.
Is it rewarding to know your music goes out into the world to be listened to? Is it necessary for your creative process to know that others will hear it? Would you still create it even if nobody ever listened to it?
Beverly: Yes, I would create music even if no one ever hears it. I am pregnant with the music when I am aware of it, and it demands to be born. Extremely uncomfortable to carry beyond term! Even if no one hears the music, once I play it, the vibration is out in the world and making a change in this planet and beyond.
I remember once when I told you that Alex was not wanting to practice and you told me to tell her to play anything she wanted…just for fun. That was revelatory to me…nobody had ever told me to just play for fun particularly when I was stuck. Rather I was told to march on and master. Have you ever been ‘stuck’ creatively? (Note: Beverly was my daughter’s piano teacher for several years.)
Beverly: No, I’ve never been stuck, because I only play new music when I am pregnant with it. That is beyond my control. I don’t feel particularly deprived when I do not have new music within. It will come when it is ready.
How does your body feel when you create or open to the flow of music that you bring into being? Do you have any particular body sensations or awarenesses that let you know you’re in the flow?
Beverly: It is a felt sense within that the music is present. In the past I have referred to this as feeling pregnant. When it is time to record, I really have to let the music out. If I do not, it is a very uncomfortable feeling physically and emotionally. Always, my body has to change in order to co-create the music. This last album “Wisdom Ablaze” has required a great deal of physical change.
How have life events influenced how or what you create? For some reason I’m remembering your mother’s passing here and how profound that was for you personally. How did that profound shift affect you creatively?
Beverly: Yes, in the sense that they change who I am and my body, emotions, spirit vibration. My mother’s death profoundly changed me because of the depths that I had to find in order to care for her.
How is your earlier music different or similar from what you’re creating right now.
Beverly: It’s been almost 30 years since I started composing. My own unique print is on all my music….this is true for every composer. In college, we used to have to identify what composer belonged to what piece simply by recognizing that’s composer’s imprint. However, as I have changed, what I can do has also changed.
Thank you, Beverly!
Beverly’s newest album, Wisdom Ablaze, is now available. Her blog posts written during this album’s birth and release can be read here. As she writes in one of her blogs, Wisdom Ablaze joins two other albums, Wisdom Enters the World in Love and A Celebration of Light and Love, to form a three-part series. You can both listen to samples and purchase her Wisdom albums via their respective links.