When Numen strikes...

I write in the book, in the chapter on RITUAL, that when you are Taking the Path (i.e., doing the work within your time/space), you have to be alert to NUMEN and CONNECTION.

The Angel of Art, probably.

The Angel of Art, probably.

CONNECTION means paying attention to the links to other work or other ideas that could inform your work.

NUMEN is more, well, numinous. Although I scoff at the idea of capital-I Inspiration, we have to recognize that MAKING THE THING THAT IS NOT is pretty damn mysterious and that sometimes the ideas we get seem to come from somewhere else, somewhere ineffable.

And while the Angel of Art does not come around handing out freebies very often, sometimes he does.

This has happened to me a couple of significant times, the most prominent of which was the idea for “Sonnet 18”: in the summer of 2005, I awoke early on the morning that the students were to arrive at the Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) with the full opening phrase of the piece in my head.

I stumbled to the nearest piece of paper and scratched out not the exact notes but at least the shape of the phrase. That morning I went straight to Dr. David Lee Johnson, our phenomenal choral director, and told him I wanted to write a piece for men’s chorus and two cellos, if he were interested. He very kindly agreed, and that gave me three weeks to write the thing (while holding down my 24/7 job as assistant director).

You can check the score here, and there’s a video of the premiere performance.

Anyway, it happened again night before last. I woke in the middle of the night, just having dreamed a great little children’s book. I grabbed the waste book from the bedside table—but there was no pen. The presumption is that one or more Assistive Felines™ have taken care of the loose writing implement.

I stumbled to the bathroom, where I keep a pen handy. Alas, the Assistive Felines™ were ahead of me. Finally I found a pencil and scribbled down the basic idea.

Since then I’ve been hammering out in my head the shape of the narrative and what the GESTALT of the writing should be. I should start the actual writing sometime this week.

At this point I don’t want to share details—but I will soon. This is a great idea for a picture book.

Thank you, Angel of Art.