As I was watching Jeremy Abbott defend his figuring skating championship yesterday, and later, reading the Times' account, I was reminded of how beautifully Willa Cather described the same kind of transcendent moment opera singer Thea Kronberg experienced in the novel, The Song of the Lark.
Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is. That afternoon nothing new came to Thea Kronberg, no enlightenment, no inspiration. She merely came into full possession of things she had been refining and perfecting for so long. Her inhibitions chanced to be fewer than usual, and within herself, she entered into the inheritance that she herself had laid up, into the faith she had kept before she knew its name or its meaning.
Often when she sang, the best she had was unavailable; she could not break through to it, and every sort of distraction and mischance came between it and her. But this afternoon the closed roads opened, the gates dropped. What she had so often tried to reach lay under her hand. She had only to touch an idea to make it live.
© 2010 Lynn Liccardo
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