Story Wonders: Marvels from Messes

Topics: creativity

Keith Jarett made a marvel out of a mess when he played an unplayable piano in front of an audience of 1400 people.

According to the Hidden Brain podcast, he almost refused to perform because the instrument was ‘unplayable.’ Instead, Jarett took pity on the 17-year-old concert organizer and improvised to meet the piano’s limitations. In the podcast interview, writer Tim Harford says the music Jarett played that night became “the best-selling jazz album in history – solo-jazz album in history and the best-selling piano album in history. It’s “The Koln Concert.”

The audio from that night is long but makes for some darned find background music if you’re curious how it sounded when he played standing up to get enough volume and avoided all the harsh upper keys.

Others have done the same over the centuries. When handed an imperfect situation, creatives of all stripes worked around and through the problem to create amazing things. What’s more, the successful ones ended up making better things than they could have otherwise.

That’s all good news for me. This weekend I am going camping with two other mothers and their kids. This weekend, I need to turn in 10 pages so an agent can give me a critique at the Inland SCBWI conference. And this weekend, I have 10 pages due to my book coach with 10 more to follow the next Monday. I’ll need to write in that messy campground full of happy children to make any of this happen.

Oh, yes. Did I mention that there is no wi-fi to speak of out there?

Sure, it’s not like playing a defective piano with over a thousand people watching me. But, as excited as I am to do these things, I’m a little nervous about those pages.

Wish me luck, send me prayers, or whatever you think might give me a good creative nudge. I may need your help to make any kind of marvel.


About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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