Celeste Lovick’s upcoming book, Medicine Song, is about one woman’s awakening to love and connectedness from a life based in fear. It’s set against the backdrop of the 2013 Glastonbury Festival, where Celeste (also a singer-songwriter) has performed 12 times since 2001. It’s both a gorgeous novel and a practical lesson in creative unblocking, and, as her sister, I’ve had the privilege of reading it through several revisions. Doing so has been an integral part of my own unblocking process.
AT: What made you decide to write Medicine Song?
CL: I always knew I would write a novel one day, but I kept thinking it would happen when I was wiser, or more knowledgeable, or somehow better in some way. But I was given some advice from an astute astrologer who told me that my dharma in life was to be a writer and to just begin. He suggested I do some writing every day, for a minimum of at least 10 or 15 minutes, and that I should do it at the same time each day if possible. This way I would build a habit.
Click to listen to “Resonance Singing” by Celeste Lovick.
As it happens, I began to write and found that rather than 15 minutes a day, I was writing for 2 hours or more. It started to flow out of me.
I didn’t believe I was ready before I began to write in earnest, but as I began, the process of writing taught me about writing, and taught me about the things I wanted to write about.
I began by doing some stream of consciousness writing and found that the scenes I was writing had to do with what I had been learning in my own musical life about making music from a place of love, connectedness and joy. When I realised that was what I wanted to write about, the name Medicine Song just came. The main character is not me, but her experiences are based on real ones I or others I know have had.
AT: Your book has gone through several revisions. How did you cultivate the determination to stick with it?
CL: I love the story. It has come from my heart and I know that revising is a part of the writing process… I could see that each time I approached a revision, that the story became stronger, so this encouraged me to go on with the process.
I could feel that the story was like a sculpture… the truth of it lay buried under layers of rock, and each revision was like a further removal of a part that didn’t belong.
I had to trust my own instincts in this process, and not always include every bit of feedback in my revision, just those that resonated for me. And many of them did.
AT: A lot of people think they don’t have time to do creative work. As the mother of a small child, how did you make the time to complete not just Medicine Song, but its accompanying soundtrack and the beginnings of two subsequent books?
I had to start going to bed early enough to get up before my son. Those early morning hours are so magical and still. They are my time where I can center myself and know that I won’t be interrupted. This was not always possible, but I do it whenever I can, as writing feeds me on such a deep level, and if I nurture that part of myself, I have so much more to give to my family.
The soundtrack includes some of my music, but most of the songs on it are by other people, grassroots festival songwriters who have inspired me over the years, and whose songs are relevant to the story. I was able to draw those songs in throughout the day, and even share them with my son. It is good to bring him into the creative process, and show him what I love to do. He loves music too.
AT: In your opinion, what’s the point of doing creative work?
Joy. Bliss. The fulfillment of doing your dharma, that which is your soul’s deepest dream. One of the speakers who appears in my book, Mac Macartney (who is a real person and very inspiring to listen to) speaks about our path in life. He asks three questions: What do you love? What are your own unique gifts? And what are your responsibilities? He says in this we find our path. What is it that we love to do, that brings us the deepest joy?
If we can take those unique gifts we each are given and apply that to what we love, in the service of something greater, this is where our path lies.
The point of doing creative work, the highest point is to do that which you love, in service of others. This is where the true joy and bliss comes from.
AT: Is there still a point even for people with zero skill at it?
I don’t believe anyone has zero skill at it. Everyone has the potential to be creative in some way. Perhaps some people are not in touch with that part of themselves, but if they have a sincere desire to be creative and a determination to do it, they will be able to find a way to open up that creative flow. Skills can be learned. It is about whether you love it. If you have a passion, something you love to do, the most fulfilling thing is to do it, and as you do, you will learn, and your creative process will grow. And it is about practice. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.
AT: What are the most difficult creative obstacles you’ve encountered, and how did you deal with them?
I would say it was the first round of feedback I got after sending out my first draft, when I realised that I hadn’t come close to conveying the story I wanted to write. I went through an emotional process about it, but I knew that I didn’t want to give up and that the story I really loved was still there, within me and around me waiting for me to uncover it. I had to approach it in a new way, to allow myself to be free, to really center myself and ask for guidance, to dream the story into being, and allow my heart to tell the story, instead of my head.
Click to listen to “The Echo Catcher” by Celeste Lovick. To hear more, go to www.celestelovick.com.
The other major challenge which we’ve already touched on is finding the time and energy. There were several months where there was so much going on at home that I just couldn’t get to the book very often. But I held it in my heart, like a fire burning, each and every day. And every time a little gap opened, I would dive into it. And so little by little, day by day, it grew.
It has been a four year process writing the book, and it would have gone much more quickly if I’d not had the responsibilities of being a parent, but motherhood has certainly deepened my creative life and I know that my son has been one of my greatest teachers, and the book wouldn’t be what it is without all of that. Whatever our challenges are, they can always be the catalyst for transformation and growth, deepening our journey and making us stronger.
If you’d like to read a gorgeous book about a woman’s journey of awakening against the backdrop of the world’s biggest music festival, you can pre-order Medicine Song now on Publishizer to help bring it into the world.
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