You know all those depressing articles about how men and women have such a terrible time these days because, geologically speaking, it’s only a heartbeat since we were cave people? Our fear of being creative is related to that. Photo by Victor Zastol’skiy, Adobe Stock.
My introduction to Manjula Selvam’s work came in the form of chaos on the front porch, where I found her folding fan after meticulous paper fan from old magazine pages.
A day or two later, I glimpsed her daughter prancing through her living room in a gorgeous silver ballgown sewn from old refrigerator insulation.
I’ve lost a lot of writing contests lately. Well, I didn’t lose them, exactly, but I definitely didn’t win anything. I’ve gotten a lot of plain old standard-issue rejection letters, too. It’s been a great opportunity to reflect on how my ego slithers into my creative work. Ultimately, the ego causes all my creative blocks, and probably yours too. It’s what tells me I’m a worthless human if people don’t like my writing, which is the thought underlying every other thought that stops me, thoughts like, But I can’t write until I’ve checked my email. It’s what tells me to write what’ll make me look good instead of what’s true. It’s what stops me from sharing what I’ve written. It pulls my attention to the reception of my work, and away from my real reasons for creating: to touch people, to make them laugh, to show them they’re not alone, to take them for awhile off their mental hamster wheels (we’ve all got them), and to give what I can. Still, I’ve made stuff and shared it. Luckily, we don’t have to lose …
I’d wanted to write about the most important creativity lesson I learned this year, and I’d thought it was “Quit your whining and get on with it,” but my apparent inability to write that post indicated I was perhaps wrong about that.
Near the end of her time as an art student in the United Kingdom, Ania Witwitzka had an emotional collapse that sent her to back the deep woods of her native Sweden to reevaluate her life. It was the culmination of a creative struggle that began when she was 10, painting wooden jewellery at an after-school centre. Featured image: Painting by Ania Witwitzka.
To the extent I’ve implemented what I’ve learned, I’ve felt almost as if I’ve tapped into an enormous electrical current, and all I have to do is touch it to find ideas zapping through my fingertips.
I’ve felt excited, alive and passionate. I’ve filled literally hundreds of pages in multiple notebooks. To the extent that I haven’t implemented what I’ve learned, I’ve basically gone off the deep end.
The sad truth about the Illumination stage is it sometimes leads to the birth of a half-formed monstrosity. That’s where Verification comes in. Photo: © Prometeus | Dreamstime.com – Ghost Photo