"How do you know when you are finished with a piece of writing?"—Evie, age 10 Evie, you've asked a stumper. I wish I had a clear, concrete ... Read More
Some months ago I had a friend redoing my basement after it flooded last May. During his time at my house he mentioned he had been designing the set for a movie being shot at Grace Chapel’s big old barn out back. He told me some of the plot line, which I found intriguing, being the me that I am, and I mentioned, off the cuff, that if they needed any music for it to let me know. It wasn’t long before my friend told me to come over and meet the folks shooting the movie.
So I became involved. Never having done anything remotely like this, I had no boundaries or “ought-tos” in my head. I also had no idea of what to do except proceed.
One of the things that helped me greatly was the time crunch. The film The Nothing was accepted for the Nashville Film Festival, which put my deadline at the morning of April 6th. We pulled an all-nighter and pushed through.
From a human perspective, offering to do the music was a completely stupid thing to do on my part. With no training, no experience, I opened my big mouth and made my committal. I had my studio, and my instruments, but that was all; I was to make sounds that brought tension, fear, relief, hope, anger, sadness, redemption, and I had little idea how I was going to do it. The end result was that I learned something experientially; that in composition, as in any other area of music, art, or life, the best stuff happens when caution is thrown to the wind, rules are bent, and we refuse to listen to the voices in our heads saying, “It’ll never work!” or “What will so-and-so say?” We step off a cliff edge in faith knowing God will cause us to fly.
From a spirit-view, this was the best thing I could have done for myself. It is easy to spin our wheels holding to old paradigms, other people’s perceptions of us, and especially our perceptions of other people’s perceptions of us. These manifestations of the false self tie us down, shut our mouths, and put the light of Christ in us under a bushel. In some areas of my life I’ve allowed this to happen, especially in the past few years.
But none of that matters. In fact, nothing matters but faith expressing itself through love, utter reliance expressing itself as a wholehearted committal of one’s entire being to a particular project, a particular person, a particular God. We are to create as children create, taken up in the thing itself, not bothering about whether so-and-so will think it is good, burning with the fire of creation, the passion of purpose, the thrill of bringing an idea into manifested, tangible reality.
I don’t mean simply creation of art. I mean any kind of creation – the creation of a marriage, of a family, of a job, of a friendship where only enemies had existed before.
In the end doing this project was an eye-opener. I had real joy in the process, a spontaneous faithing that was nearly continuous, and some ridiculous ideas that actually worked.
Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he's not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin' on audiences around the world, he's taking care of his donkey named "Trash" and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.