personal writing the color of music

Time (w/ Clark Street Bridge)

November 7, 2014

“Clark Street Bridge is a two-hour experience that is hard to put into words. It is about reading, writing and understanding. It is story-like in nature and scored to music, performed live. And it is participatory, with a couple of writing exercises meant to increase our understanding of writing just a bit and our understanding of ourselves, a bit more.  

Some finding engaging. Taken by small things they never knew before woven into a story of something they want to know more about. Some find it transformational. Changing the way they write, the way they think, the way they go about their job. But most, simply find it inspiring. Moving them with words and music and storytelling to a different place where they feel a different way.” 

I’ve blogged about Clark Street Bridge before, but it’s one of the most creative and beautifully inspiring experiences I’ve ever been a part of. Christian has been playing with CSB for years, and it was only after the first time I went to one of their shows that I understood why he loved being a part of it so much. 
Last night’s show was held in a performance hall at The University of Chicago, and after another crazy, busy week – I was only too comforted by the thought that I’d get to attend. The topic, last night, was TIME.

Growing up, my mom always talked about how God’s time is different from our time. I tried and tried to understand that when I was young but that’s a hard thing to comprehend, no matter your age. Time is one of those things that really doesn’t have a definition. It’s abstract- even though we think of it as set and concrete- but truly, it’s not. If you think about time as a feeling though, or memories, it almost feels easier to define – but in this you realize that everyone’s definition of it will be different.
Because of this, I think that’s why it made for such a great writing prompt at CSB last night. The speaker (and creator of CSB), John, asked the audience to take a few minutes and jot down their definition of ‘time,’ and when we were finished jotting down some ideas, he asked if anyone would like to read theirs aloud. Of course I totally slouched down in my seat, praying he wouldn’t just randomly call on me. (I’ll tell ya right now, I did not read mine aloud) 😉 
The girl sitting next to me was the first person to read what she’d written and literally everyone in the room let out a sigh and a laugh when she was finished as we all wondered, “Really? Who wants to follow that?!” Her response was like something out of an old, classic book of poems. Had she been selling what she’d written, I would’ve bought it from her right then and there. But John encouraged others to keep going, and a few others decided to read their responses too – all of them just absolutely inspiring and really made me want to keep writing. Three minutes is surely not long enough to write about something like time. (The irony of that sentence, I know.)
I sat there thinking about what I’d written. I hadn’t used big or fancy words like many of the other people had. Actually, my response felt rather elementary and I started to wonder if I was kidding myself even sitting in this room with all of these other artists and poets and writers and scientists (yes, really). But then I realized that’s the whole point of Clark Street Bridge. It’s a reminder – proof – that each and every person is an artist, a writer – no one better than another, just different – much like art is. And if nothing else, being around these people was a reminder to keep following my passion. That’s what it’s all about. 
The minute we got into the car after the show was over, I knew Christian would ask me to read what I’d written. I warned him that it would sound nothing like what we’d heard the others read, and he assured me that he was a fan of anything I write (love him). And so, I did. 
Time is all of the things, 
and all that there is, 
and all of the feelings. 
Time is everything, 
when you are breathing. 
And even when you have stopped, 
it will go on, 
in the next person you last touched, 
or the last one who read your written word. 
You and time, 
you exist together.
You move together, 
like a dance. 
[Well, perhaps time leads the dance, but it will give you 
the steps 
and the twirls 
and the dips, 
as you go.]
Truly, I could have continued writing for hours. And maybe I will. But in addition to being a part of an unbelievably beautiful experience last night, I was reminded, once again, that there is still so much to learn, and sometimes experiencing it all as you go is the best part, rather than making sure to have it all figured out before you reach the finish line.
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” 
– Maya Angelou
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you all. Happy Friday, loves 🙂

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  • Beautiful! Seriously. I would love to know more about The Clarke Street Bridge too, now that I am in Chicago!

  • my dear, what you wrote is absolutely beautiful. I'm so happy you're able to do things like this with your wonderful husband. I hope you do continue to follow your passion. You have a beautiful soul and have such an incredible way with words. Happy Friday!! xoxo

  • This is such great writing. You have a talent my dear. I wish they did something like this near mear. I love the idea.

  • Elizabeth Spenner

    Oh, I love this! Thank you for sharing. What a great idea. I would love to learn more. Beautifully written!

  • Yeah, if you ever doubt that you're an amazing writer, just hunt me down and I'll remind you. You ARE an amazing writer! And I think you should write more like you wanted to too! Oh, and I love that quote–if I'd heard it before, I'd never realized how amazing it is.

  • Beautiful. Sometimes it's not the fanciest of words that inspire and move people.

  • Sounds like an amazing experience! How cool that you and X get to experience together, from totally different standpoints. Love that.

  • NINA!!!! Okay next time they have one (I think Christian is going to be traveling back so that he can still play in them), I will let you know! You would LOVE it, I just know it. I think the next one might be the first week in Feb but I'll be sure to let you know 🙂

  • XO (( HUG )) Thanks, lady. I feel the same way… really cool that both Christian and I can experience it together, at the same time, just on different sides 😉

  • I read this in the car earlier today and it just warmed my heart – thank you for your sweet words, Kenj.

  • Thank you, Elizabeth! 🙂 I really wish more cities had this kind of thing… maybe it will catch on?! I really think that anyone would enjoy it, but writers especially.

  • haha!! 🙂 I'm going to hold you to that! 😉 (And thank you, kacie) I loved that quote too. They had it up on the screen for a few seconds during part of the show and I hurried to write it down. It's one I'll hold onto for a long time, I think!

  • Thank you xo. (And I agree!)

  • 🙂 I think so too… it was neat to be a part of the same thing together, and then to share our different (and similar) takes on it on the way home.