Pam Stone: Barn chores, not smartphones, jog creativity – Index-Journal


During barn chores, particularly in the dark of the early morning hours, along with much of the day in the second building I occupy, our house, I tend to stream classical music for both its comfort and vibrancy. And I am always somewhat agog when I think of the desperately young age that such masterpieces — in all of the arts — were created.

Especially in comparison to my own life and what I achieved, or less ambitiously, upon what I was focused, during the same age.

To think that Lord Byron, at the tender age of 26 could pen the equally tender lines of an all-consuming love:

She walks in beauty, like the night,

Of cloudless climes and starry night

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and in her eyes;

Thus mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies…

At 26, I was mesmerized that Bobby Ewing had come out of the shower, alive.

Mary Shelley was all of age 18 when she began “Frankenstein.” Mary! What on earth? She was a baby! Granted, she went on to lead a pretty wild, party-girl lifestyle after an impressive and political education, but still, to create the classic which is considered one of the first examples of science fiction is breathtaking.

At 18, I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar and was blown away by the advent of velcro wallets.

Mozart was but 32 when he composed the massive Symphony No. 41 in C major, (aka “Jupiter”) which critics hail as his greatest work.

At 32, I was particularly proud of a joke I had written about how Southern women sound like livestock as we age. (It’s actually very funny. Want to hear it? Then book me. I don’t do anything for free, baby.)

How does such talent (theirs, not mine) appear in youth? Is it because early age which is relatively short of life experience feels passion, triumphs and failures more intensely? How did the opening chords of “Sound of Silence” drift into the head of a 21-year-old Paul Simon? The complexity and elegance of the lyrics which followed? How?

All I can think is that when you have artistic passion and are probably broke, yes, you feel things to your very soul. You don’t have the trappings of wealth to distract from all-consuming emotion. Life is far less bleak when you can handily order uber eats and choose what to wear in the acreage of a walk-in closet after being dumped by your significant other via text.

And that makes me wonder: How many great artists have we spawned today with our abundance of technology who will stand the test of time and create what will be regarded as classics in a couple of hundred years? It ain’t easy. In fact, I’d say our current young artists, with their climate-controlled surroundings, Spotify and Kashi blueberry waffles will have to dig far, far deeper to produce a masterpiece.

Because you and I know perfectly well that Mary and Wolfgang would have never focused long enough to write anything had they had smartphones.

She walks in beauty, like the night symphony 41, aged 32, mozart

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright Keats, aged 25

Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

Thus mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies…

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;


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