1.10.2012

Creativity

You know how, when you partner with another human being, there are some things about that person that turn on all your endorphins?  Qualities that impress you--but more than that, qualities that make your body feel lit up, that make you laugh or gasp or tear up with delight?

Biffle's creativity has always been one of those qualities for me.  He sees the world in ways that I can't really imagine.  Things that are intuitively obvious to him regularly strike me as surprising, hilarious, even transformative.  This is the guy who, for one of his earliest woodworking projects, made this:


This is also the guy whose MFA thesis was an extensive community activist project* that engaged with gang violence in New Bedford, MA, in a way that was thoughtful, open, hard as hell to do, and beautiful.
(Please look at the rest of the images linked to "beautiful," above.  This one is beautiful--I particularly love the bird--but it doesn't give you a sense of the larger project.)

Okay, so for the last few years, he's been doing some regular work.  He's been playing music on a very regular basis, and he's been making furniture for folks.  Both these activities are great forms of employment, but the thing that had started to become evident to me was that--sort of ironically--they weren't providing space for Biffle's creativity.  At gigs he was playing other people's songs.  He was playing those songs very well, with enthusiasm, energy, and varieties of different instruments, but he wasn't writing or recording his own music (you know, with 700 harmonies like he likes to do).  Similarly, with the furniture he was making--it was fantastic, across the board.  Stuff that would make your mouth water.  But most people buying furniture don't want the Big Pipe, or the conscientizacao bird.  The truly funky creative stuff Biffle is capable of isn't necessarily marketable.**

I've discovered that I've been missing that creativity, and I know for a fact Biffle has been, too, whether or not he's been aware of it.

January and February are the slow months for gigs, so Biffle's had some free time on his hands since the holidays.  Maybelle and I went back to school on Monday, and what do you think Biffle did?

He thought about the fact that Maybelle, now with perfectly-hearing ears, is listening intently to song lyrics, trying to sing along.

He mused about how much she loves reading.

He reflected on the fact that she's incredibly fond of a song he wrote ages ago (engineered and produced by one of his best friends, Neal Cappellino, with Neal, Neal's wife Linnae, and me performing here and there on it).

And he taught himself to use iMovie so that he could make this:



Do I even need to tell you how I feel about this?


*Please note when you follow this link that it says the post is by Alison.  It's really by Biffle.  We updated our blog in 2006 and it changed all the names from the earlier posts.  Everything from 2006 and back is switched.
**Can I go ahead and say officially, publicly, that I am happy to be the breadwinner?  This man doesn't need to be marketable.

16 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Very cool -- I wish there were a "Like" button for the video and song!

lifeversiontwo said...

I'm gonna start using the phrase "I'm ready with my cheerleader horn," if that's ok with Biffle. I think it needs to be added to my lexicon.

Jay Crockett said...

Awesome. Totally forgot about this song, though I remembered as soon as I read the title.

I recall there being some cursing in this song, was that edited or another version I'm remembering?

More please.

Alison said...

Here are some things I'd like to say but didn't want to put in the body of the message:

How adorable is the traffic jam of Maybelle's vehicles and creatures? The light-up spinning top is in the traffic, along with several dinosaurs!

Also, please note the hands that are swishing back and forth. Those appear in the video at the exact moments when, listening to the song, Maybelle will put down the yogurt spoon, lift her hands, and do the movement Biffle has emulated in cartoon form.

The Mom said...

OK - I got tears again... Walter does that to me on a regular basis. I remember this and many other songs of Walter's that I wish were more "out there". Maybe we'll be seeing some more videos? How about sharing it (them) on FaceBook? I second Elizabeth's comment!

Alison said...

Can't one of you share it on Facebook? I'm a bit Facebook-phobic.

Also, Jay, this is the original version of the song. He's got cursing in some songs, but not this one.

Biffle said...

very short sentences for everyone:

@ Alison: Thanks, baby.

Elizabeth: Never touch the "Like" button!

Lifev.2: Be my guest!

Jake Rocket: more on the way.

The mom: and sometimes it's even because i'm nice!

The Mom said...

You're right, of course, Walter!

Trey said...

JAKE ROCKET!

Maggie said...

I love this-inspiring-and Sesame Street would love this

The Mom said...

Posted the video on my Facebook page this morning. Have gotten 18 "likes" , 2 comments, one share, and from that share there were 2 other shares...Check it out - if you can weed through my game notices! :-)

Biffle said...

I really need to send this song to Click and Clack.

Maria Mansfield Richardson said...

Wow. Click and Clack definitely need to include this song on Car Talk. I love all of it and especially the line of cars and people of all shapes and sizes, including the dinosaurs, the spinning top, and Mr. Potato Head! Now I want a video of Maybelle singing along! Better yet, perhaps all the kids can sing along at her next birthday party! So creative and lovely. THANKS for making my day!

Cate Bush said...

Well I commented on this a while back but it apparently didn't send :(! I think it's awesome and this is one of my favorite Walter Biffle original songs!!

starrlife said...

Okay I'll try to post it but are you my friend on facebook? hmmmmm.... Love this song- I'm playing for my hubs since he could use this idea! :)
Creativity is very hard to sustain in a busy, "productive" period of life at least I find it so....
you are a fine partner Alison!

starrlife said...

Okay- done!