Trinity-Pawling Chris Kelsey

Chris Kelsey does what most of us cannot: he makes something from nothing. It sounds like a magic trick, like a miraculous conjuration . . . but for Kelsey such inspiration happens as naturally as breathing in and out.

“It feels like my stories are already written,” he says. “As though these characters and actions and settings already exist. Some artists prepare and outline and plan, others fly by the seat of their pants: I’m definitely a Pantser.”

Chris Kelsey is an award-winning composer, performer, recording artist, writer, and author whose first novel — Where the Hurt is — currently ranks #1 on Amazon’s list of downloaded mystery novels. It’s a remarkable list of achievements for one who also serves as Director of Instrumental Music at Trinity-Pawling School. But the life that takes place around him is what seems to fuel Kelsey’s own creative fire.

“When I’m reading, I’m reminded of stories that I’m creating in my own imagination. When I listen to music, I’m reminded of compositions I’m building, myself. It’s an intrinsic part of who I am; it just happens.”

He is known as a musical artist who specializes in improvisation; he sees writing in a similar light:

“Whether in music or in writing, improvisation is the culmination of every scale I’ve mastered, every hour I’ve practiced, every page I’ve read, every hour I’ve lived” he says. “I just listen and observe, and go where the story wants to go. In the end, the creative process — and the created product — always seems inevitable.”

Spoken like a true Pantser.

by John Teaford