Song #10 of the 2020101 project: “Something Out of Nothing”

Can you even believe … it’s Day 91 of The 2020101 Project … which means it’s time to release the second-to-last song! It’s called “Something Out of Nothing.”

making presence, peace, & meaning

Our story collection revealed that 2020 was a time — with its amplified stresses, its necessitated isolation, and its peculiar rendering of time — in which a lot of people had to figure out how to be proactive in finding peace and presence for themselves. How to make sense of a time that felt so unsettling. How to find an anchor in the chaos.

Many people told us that rather than hoping and waiting to discover serenity in something outside of themselves, they saw and seized an opportunity to create it for themselves — often through the act of creation itself.

Making art to make sense of the time.

Drawing, writing,
making music, painting …
as an avenue to personal peace
amidst the swirling storm.

Several people recorded and released albums of new original music.

Someone published their first book.

Many took up paint brushes and manifested beautiful scenes on canvas,
or applied them to rocks, which they then left around their neighborhood as smile-inducing treasures to be discovered by passers-by.

Some wrote poetry.

Others used their hands to weave together simple threads that, once woven, became something meaningful … a cozy hat, a pretty wall hanging, a blanket to keep someone warm through the winter.

Something out of nothing.

The nothing …

… an era of limbo with a
perpetually uncertain ending point.

… a time of isolation and eerie quiet.

… a void, where the potential for something new
existed only as a microcosmic speck
of inspiration in the minds and hearts
of the soon-to-be creators.

The something …

… a poem, a painting, a song.

… a discovery or re-discovery of an inner artist,
of the child that used to unflinchingly create
without fear or hesitation.

… an offering of beauty for others.

… a mark on the world,
declarative evidence of the
fundamental existence of the maker.

… a settled mind, a calmed heart,
an elevated consciousness.

As I thought about this phenomenon described in our story collection, and in trying to represent the magic of it in a song, I felt reaffirmed about an idea that has compelled me for some time:

All acts of creation
— all makings of nothing into something —
are acts of the divine.

Here’s what I mean, and pardon me as I get philosophical for a minute:

The entire universe once came into being from a vacuum.
Everything we know — all of existence — was once contained in an undefinable, microcosmic speck of potential.
And in every moment, from the moment of its bursting into All That Is until now, the cosmos continues to expand, in ways that our brains are not yet capable of fathoming.

And …
every time we enter into the utterly still, empty chasm of the present moment,
and allow our minds to hear that subperceptual glitch of imagination,
and then feel it move through our bodies and burst into our fingers —

holding a pen,
playing an instrument,
grasping a brush,
weaving threads —

… we participate in the divine act of creation.

Something out of nothing.

A new little universe, borne of the exploration of an intimidating emptiness, and making something meaningful from it.

When you view the act of making from this perspective, it seems absolutely logical and inevitable that the resultant effect felt by the maker … is peace.

A sense of oneness with the universe.

Even if the world around us is chaos.

Even if it lasts only for a precious moment.

Because perhaps …
each of us
— along with everything else that is … the trees, the stars, the sea —
are part of the All of Everything,
which is constantly creating what Is,
constantly beckoning others to join in that holy act,
and in so doing, getting ever closer to wholeness,
ever farther from separation,
ever farther from chaos,
ever closer to peace.

So, here’s to you, fellow creators of the universe.
I’m glad you made some peace in the eye of the storm.

If you have a story to share about creating peace and presence by making art in 2020 — or if you want to share something you made — please email it to Jamie at

Throughout this 101-day-long project, we are creating a living, interactive document of people’s experience of 2020. Those stories, and all the songs from 2020101, will live on at