sara-bareillesThere are points in our life that we find ourselves on a precipice, teetering back and forth. A battle ensues between the rational mind and the impassioned heart. Step back toward solid ground, implores the sensible intellect. Take the leap, begs the courageous soul. Back and forth the maelstrom intensifies, leaving our physical presence stagnant. Disarray, chaos, and confusion suffocate what seems like the last breath of fresh air waiting to be exhaled from our lungs. Until the tiniest of nudges sends us over the edge, tumbling into uncharted territory. And suddenly it feels beautiful.

I pen these words in a moment of faith and hope. It has been less than forty-eight hours since I was coaxed into the dark abyss of the unknown. I want to give these emotions time to evolve, to come of age in my soul. I feel them intensifying. I don’t want to bring them into this world before their time. And yet, neither do I want to lose the rawness of those same emotions. I have decided that now is the time, the perfect time.

Traveling north on the interstate, my destination is St. Augustine Amphitheater for the second time in as many months. I have a peculiar habit of listening to the music I am going to hear live while driving, a concert before the concert, if you will. Streaming from the speakers in shuffle mode is a combination of perfectly produced studio recordings alongside the imperfections and subtle nuances that can only be captured in a live recording. The anticipation of a concert experience I had been looking forward to for months had me wanting to press down on the accelerator of my Mustang with a little more enthusiasm. This was one of those times where I am pleased that my rational mind prevailed.

As the ambient lights faded, an energy surged through the crowd as evidenced by the deafening pleas for the featured artist, Sara Bareilles, to appear. The electric blue lights illuminating the stage lit a fire inside that began what turned out to be a magical and breathtaking evening. The two hours from my seat in section 202 passed in the blink of an eye, the infusion of inspiration closely guarded and carried with me as I take a leap of my own.

There are singers. There are performers. And there are artists. Sara Bareilles is an artist. She takes the words, lyrics, and melodies of a song, one that you have heard a hundred times before, and transforms them into something new, like a song that you are hearing for the very first time. It’s a brush with genius that words cannot convey. It must be experienced to fully appreciate the significance of its impression. I heard many of my favorite offerings by Sara: Gravity, Chasing The Sun, Brave, King Of Anything. There were two songs, however, that moved me into an unexpected state of enchantment.

she-used-to-be-mineFor the past eighteen months, Sara has been working on the musical score for a Broadway show set to premiere next year, Waitress. As the opening notes of her song She Used To Be Mine carried towards the ears of her audience, they bypassed the physical senses and headed straight for the soul. A heart-wrenching, introspective, and incredibly powerful love ballad brought tears to my eyes. I don’t even know why it is that those tears materialized. I don’t know that I was either happy or sad. To be honest, I didn’t care. I was just moved. We don’t always need to understand why it is that we feel a particular way. We just need to decide to feel. That is enough. A true artist has the power to kindle that emotional reverberation. With the final note of this spellbinding performance, I came to the realization that I was not alone in my sentiments. In unison, three thousand other fans, connected by a riveting rendition of emotional portrayal, found themselves standing in awe and appreciation. It was a moment, maybe the moment.

Compare where you are to where you want to be, and you’ll get nowhere. ~Sara Bareilles, Uncharted

I have listened to this song time after time: on the radio, on my copy of Kaleidoscope Heart, on my Sara Bareilles Pandora station. It wasn’t until I experienced it live, however, that it finally hit home. Maybe it was the surge of emotion washing over me at this point in the concert. Maybe it was a connection to the fear, doubt, and uncertainty conveyed through the vocal chords of this gifted musician. Whatever it was, I found myself ready to enter uncharted territory of my own.

I won’t go as a passenger, waiting for the road to be laid. Though I may be going down, I’m taking flame over burning out. I’m already out of foolproof ideas, so don’t ask me how to get started. It’s all uncharted. ~Sara Bareilles, Uncharted

little-black-dressInspire and be inspired. It is my mental anthem, my guiding principle. I have been inspired in a very unique and compelling fashion. I may never grasp the breadth of influence that was provided to me on this special evening. That doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t aspire to inspire the world, one person at a time. It’s all uncharted after all. And that’s what it makes it so incredibly beautiful and wonderful.



14 thoughts on “Uncharted

  1. J July 28, 2014 / 3:14 pm

    love this post and you can do anything you put your mind to! We are all behind you – me, Sunshine Boy and the kitties 🙂

    • davecenker July 28, 2014 / 4:51 pm

      Thank you sunshine, I love you! And thank you for convincing the kitties to support me. I am not sure what I would do if they were against me, especially she who shall not be named 😉

  2. adrianapridemore July 28, 2014 / 6:03 pm

    I love that moment when music bypasses our ears and goes straight for our soul. I think that we get tears and goosebumps at moments like that because our outsides can’t contain our soul at that moment and it tries to get out and be free

    • davecenker July 29, 2014 / 9:29 am

      Love, love, love that analogy! I think you have hit the proverbial nail on the head, our outsides can’t contain our soul and it escapes through the tears and goosebumps. Beautiful and brilliant 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and adding even more to my wonderful experience through your enlightenment 😉

  3. balroop2013 July 29, 2014 / 1:50 am

    I can hear you Dave, I can understand the elation, I can feel the enlightening moments that you have mentioned here – that is the power of real music, especially the genre we love. Absolutely mesmerising! Thanks for sharing!

    • davecenker July 29, 2014 / 9:27 am

      Thank you Balroop, I am so happy that you were able to sense the emotion that poured out of this experience. As writers and human beings, I think that one of the things we desire most is to be understood and to share in those emotions that light a fire inside us. Thank you for taking the time to read about my very special experience and providing your thoughts 😉

  4. T. Greenfield July 29, 2014 / 10:59 am

    Wonderful post! And on a side note, for some reason your work isn’t appearing in my WP Reader and it appears I am way behind! I will be catching up on all your work very soon. 🙂

    • davecenker July 29, 2014 / 2:04 pm

      Thank you Terry, I appreciate your kind comments and am happy to hear you enjoyed my connection through music 😉 Your intriguing flash fiction works over the past several months have served as an inspiration and nudge into the genre of fiction for me, so thank you for that also 😉

  5. Marquita Herald (@marquitaherald) August 1, 2014 / 5:34 pm

    What lovely images Dave. It has probably been 3 years since I’ve been to a concert though part of that has to do with the fact I live on a hill above the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and the music drifts up during the evening performances so it’s like I have the best of both worlds – I get to enjoy the music sitting on my deck under the beautiful Maui skies without having to hassle the crowds or parking. Still, your description about the lights and atmosphere are well taken because that does add to the experience. Sounds like something to add to my end of summer list. Thanks once again for the inspiration. 🙂

    • davecenker August 4, 2014 / 9:05 am

      Thanks Marty! To be honest, I envy your position on the hill 😉 There is something very special about live music. It touches your soul in a very magical way that can’t be explained. Having the privilege of listening to it drift to your deck sounds very enticing. In a strange sort of way, despite my rather introverted personality, I also enjoy the crowds when that crowd shares in the same passion for the artist you are watching perform. It’s like a big group of friends gathering together to share in a common interest. Thanks for your stunning imagery of the Maui landscape, enjoy the beautiful music carried on the trade-winds to your ears this summer and beyond 😉

  6. Eric Tonningsen August 8, 2014 / 12:20 am

    “I was just moved.” We need to feel. Understandable, yet when something (in this case her voice and words) resonates deep within, we sense (and allow) the imminent, powerful nourishing. I believe many of us have had these moments, Dave. And for we who have been so blessed, it’s almost as if our hearts rose, allowing us to float above your words — because the recollection and image of our similar experience(s) takes over. And it’s good to return to such space(s).

    Glad to learn your inspirational juices were sated. Onward, into the unchartered. It’s full of discovery and possibilities.

    • davecenker August 8, 2014 / 8:51 am

      Thank you Eric. You are so right that once you read about the experience of others, it allows you to relive and re-experience those lifting moments with those artists who inspire us. I am happy to have helped foster this recollection and look forward to recalling this particular one many times in the future. Thanks for taking the time to read and best wishes for an inspired day!

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