My favorite Douglas Adams book is Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (in which, by the way, it turns out that one of the characters is totally a Time Lord who totally has a TARDIS, albeit not in the form of a Police Box). I love the book not for it’s dysfunctional Electric Monk, not for the impossible couch, not for the horse that randomly appears in an apartment, and not for the cheesy time travel party tricks (although I do love it for all those things), but for the math. In the book they discuss how math is found in absolutely everything in nature, from the way a leaf flutters in the breeze to the way a mountain rises from gentle rolling hills to majestic rocky peaks. The book discusses the idea that if you apply the math of these natural phenomenon you can create beautiful music. Adams often spoke of his love of Bach’s music and the book is clearly partially inspired by that. And I knew as soon as I read it all those years ago that it’s true. Nature is math is music is art. All the art that ever is or was or will be is already all around us, just waiting to be interpreted and transcribed by artists into something we can all understand through our senses as art.
In the writing I’ve done this year for BlogHer I’ve felt this. It’s a connection. I struggle and struggle with a piece, putting it down and coming back to it, unhappy with it and knowing it’s not right. And then suddenly something unlocks and it comes pouring out, almost without willing it to. I become less of a writer and more of a tool to transcribe the writing.
This is not to say I consider myself anywhere near the same level as Bach or the great artists of the world – I like my writing but I have a long way to go before I ever reach that point, if I am even destined to. And I am probably not and honestly I’d rather it be that way. But I’ve had a small taste of it, of that muse connection. I can understand that which I have believed must be true on a deeper level now. And it feels beautiful.
This is also not to say that all music is art. I love Baby Got Back, but I don’t think Sir Mix-a-Lot pulled that directly from The Universe.
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’ve never worked at it as hard as I have before this year. The fact that a piece has to be finished by a certain date forces me to focus until the click happens. Without that external push, I may not have found the patience – I may not have known to look for the patience – to stick with something through the block. And so I’m glad The Universe has given me this gift of a deeper understanding of writing and art and how it’s not just for the greatest artists of the world, but how we can all choose to be True Artists by connecting ourselves to the ether of math and music and transcribing it for humanity. I don’t want to be a Great Artist, I’m just happy to have had that connection with The Universe. It feeds my soul.