This is the second installment of me sharing the creative thought process of others. Enjoy!
“My creative process starts with a nagging feeling of being unsettled, the kind that won’t leave me alone no matter how many times I try to brush it aside or ignore it. It is a feeling I can’t name until I take out my guitar, a piece of paper, and a hand-held recording device.
I know I have something to say to help me process a situation. I need time carved from a busy schedule, to understand for myself something that his happening to me, to the world, to other people. I need to say something about it. I need to understand.
When I was younger, I reflected on relationships that did not last, observations about how the world worked around me, truths from my perspective. I had to let people know that even though something did not work as I expected, I understood it better or learned something from the encounter. I was touched in some way.
This is when I wrote songs such as New York, New York which describes the homeless on the streets while people in business suits walked by. I could not understand their invisibility to those who walked by and didn’t look in their direction or acknowledge in any way.
Then I became a mother, full of uncertain decisions. I needed to understand the steps and stages of my children. I would have a physical pain or tightness in my stomach that would not leave me until I wrote a song about what I wanted to say. Only then I would be able to understand my feelings about what was happening.
When my daughter was graduating High School, I found myself tearing up all the time at odd moments. I would be thinking about the graduation. I would feel panicked she would be leaving for college, all the time living at home with me would be a fading memory. One day I found some time to sit down, take out my guitar, and write a song. That is when it hit me, she is not leaving her past, it is always inside her because she has come from me. That having that part of me with her will be what she needs to fall back on in her new stage of life. Once I wrote it and played it for people, I realized my song summarized my feelings, I was accepting of what was happening.
With more maturity and the extreme confusion now in our country, I have stepped more out of myself to want to change the world. I want to point out what we are not doing as a Nation; bring awareness to the plight of others.
These feelings of anger have allowed me to write songs about people who are not living by the Golden Rule, treat others as you want to be treated.
People cannot be judged by outside characteristics, that each person needs to be known individually. My songs help me cope with the helplessness that things are not getting better fast enough. We all need to try harder and work together to have the world we want to see.
My creative process keeps me sane. If I did not write songs, I would probably cause harm to myself in my weakest moments. My songs keep me alive because I know by writing them, I am trying to fight evil and understand my own sense of reality. They give me hope that if I sing them enough, I will touch someone to make a change in the world, maybe start a conversation, or meet someone who mirrors what I have felt and empathize with each other. It will help someone know that they are not alone, and neither am I.”
To hear some of Terri’s songs or see her perform, please click here.