June 27, 2017

a new way of being creative




Let's start a new paradigm about creativity. I'm tired of being told, as a writer, that I must deprive myself of comfort, frighten my mind, challenge myself, trawl my own misery, write what disturbs me. and occupy my thoughts with conflict.

I want my creativity to nourish and delight me. 

I want to write to enchant my mind and bring joy to my life. Instead of challenging myself, I want to consult my deep womanly wisdom, and create things that make me interested, absorbed, happy, fulfilled, not scared.

Perhaps it is our heritage of unrelenting war, or else our economic system that defines others as competition, but whatever the case we have a culture focussed on conflict and unease. No wonder writers and artists have so many little rituals they go through before they can begin work. I suspect it's not from superstition but a deep wish for safety, self-care, a little bit of comfort. Once they do begin the work, they must make themselves (according to most advice) frightened, stretched, challenged, self-doubting, tormented.

I do not submit to that militaristic paradigm. I write and take photographs from a place of love and inspiration. Instead of wrestling with my muse I adore him and sing holy, holy, for whatever he gives me. Creativity is not be an exercise in self-brutality for me. It is my haven, my garden, my healing.


art by Jeanie Tomanek

5 comments:

  1. So lovely, and I agree. I don't want to feel tense and anxious while writing. I want to feel dreamy and write because I feel something deeply. Today I picked up "If you want to write" again, to be reminded to write from love.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I certainly don't see why all of life should not be deemed appropriate for creating art...surely the ordinary beauty of the world and the daily rhythms of life are as worthy of celebration as the tragedies and challenges? A thing is not automatically more profound simply because it is hard or uncomfortable; comfort and joy are as deep---and, I would argue, as necessary in art and life---as sorrow and struggle. I would rather look at, or read about, a woman speaking to a deer or cradling a child than I would a stern saint murdering some dragon. And while we need art to engage us in confronting what is wrong and needlessly bad in our world, we need also to be inspired and comforted by the simple beauty of being alive.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I came across an interesting thought this week in my morning reading that suggests the old, militaristic paradigm of creativity may be a matter of laziness. Pierre-Marie Dumont wrote, "But, on canvas just as in real life, meekness, or gentleness, is altogether more difficult to express than violence!" He goes on to say that in the heart of meekness is a struggle of will; one that is especially hard fought for certain characters "--for impetuous types, of course, but above all for the weak, for true meekness is revealed only in active service of others. And to withstand the inevitable conflicts brought by human relationships, meekness must be armed with firmness." That is, the firm resolve to be a little kinder, patient, and well-intentioned each day.

    Another writer (Michael Sacasas) introduced me to Charles Taylor's idea of "disenchantment", which I think helps to explain what has happened to all forms of creativity in modern times. M.S wrote:

    "The enchanted world was one of the features of pre-modern society which had to be overcome in order for a secular world, in Taylor’s sense, to emerge. The enchanted world as he describes it yields a particular experience of the self, what Taylor calls the “porous self” which later gives way to the modern “buffered self.”...Taylor’s discussion of enchantment unfolds as a theory of the self, and his understanding of enchantment begins with the question of meaning. In our modern disenchanted world, meaning arises only from mind, and the human mind is the only kind of mind there is. Nothing external to the human mind bears any meaning in itself. Moreover, there are no non-human agents in the world, either of matter or spirit...By contrast, things (and spirits) in the enchanted world have the 'power of exogenously inducing or imposing meaning,' a meaning that is independent of the perceiver. A meaning that someone may be forced to reckon with whether they would like to or not. Additionally, in the enchanted world objects can have a causal power. The 'charged' objects, Taylor explains, 'have what we usually call "magic" powers.' Crucially, this power may be either benevolent or malevolent. The objects in question may bring blessing or trouble, cure or disease, rescue or danger...Boundaries in the enchanted world are decidedly fuzzy. Taylor writes that the enchanted world 'shows a perplexing absence of certain boundaries which seem to us essential.' In particular, 'the boundary between mind and world is porous.' The porous self that corresponds to an enchanted world is 'vulnerable, to spirits, demons, cosmic forces. And along with this go certain fears which can grip it in certain circumstances.'...The buffered self characteristic of the disenchanted world is, by contrast, 'invulnerable' and 'master of the meanings of things for it.' It is also immune to the fears that may grip the porous self. It is sealed off from the world, its boundaries are not at all fuzzy, meaning resides neatly within its own mind, it occupies a world of inert matter. It is autonomous and self-possessed. It is, in other words, a thoroughly modern individual."

    That is a long quote, and I do apologize! (If you'd like to read the entire article, you can find it here: https://thefrailestthing.com/author/lmsacasas/ ) I think our creativity should nourish and delight us, and maybe even help us to see the things we have become blind to. Your writing, and Tatterdemalion, and also Laurus have all done that for me.♥
    I am convince that beauty will save us.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you all for your responses. I'm a little unwell this morning so can't respond to each personally but must say thank you Sue for all you shared. Such food for thought!

    ReplyDelete
  5. that's what I want too, well, mostly. I don't like things that scares me, I suppose that's why I want the familiar and the soft, things that makes me want to smile instead run away.

    have a lovely day.

    ReplyDelete