Having been a slave to an overly creative profession for the best part of a decade, I gradually stopped writing for pleasure, drawing for pleasure - I even stowed away my easel, all supplies, handy projects, book projects, and eventually, digital graphics all together.
I can only sum up these actions as the result of succumbing to complete frustration that I couldn't seem to create anything that I was proud of. Years of this, 'discomfort' in my own creative skin, ultimately killed an ever-present drive keep on creating.
I am certain that I am not alone in this ailment.
Exploring a professional 180, a cerebral manifest destiny, I am hopeful that all of this creativity is still within me, just hibernating like a six year winter. I wish for it to burst out of me - form of: inspiration! Beautiful, enchanting, boundless work!
And if not, and possible, I wish to relearn the art of creativity... so... is that possible? Or does it never leave us?
Not obnoxious at all - insightful. But it once came so naturally, like second skin... now a painstaking process... you are right though, that it was maybe never the natural way. Perhaps the posed question is obnoxious in itself and can be answered by one word: "change."
I can relate to this !! :-)
My opinion is, you need to go to Paris to visit your brother Roman. Go to Tuscany and visit some wineries, and then take a sketchpad and go sit in a casino in Monte Carlo with a glass of scotch. It's what old Hem would do.
I sit in doorways on busy evenings in downtown Frederick, where revelers pass by. I write to myself, culling pieces of conversations, the 3 second snippets that only the eavesdropper can hear. Those morsels can be more meaningful than full conversations since I am left to fill in not only the context of what I've heard but also the nature of the relationship of the people.
I am neither drunk nor displaced yet to most passer-bys I don't exist. Occasionally only the most observant realizes that I am somewhat out of place; the street is not mine but rather I have stole it for awhile. A middle age professional rather than a street urchin who has stolen my doorway perch... why?
Personally I didn't write for nearly 15 years then suddenly a complete book was delivered to me-downloaded to my brain through sudden epiphany. Once the idea and concept clawed through my brain words flowed freely and unabated for the better part of a year. Then came the work of weaving plots details and correcting inaccuracies, even inspiration requires some toil.
But since that moment once the flood gates again opened I have been awash in words. They found me. Ideas abound as distractions and I sit like a cat at a window pawing at moths on the other side of the glass.
My suggestion… go on a spring night and huddle in a doorway where you won’t be recognized and jot the pieces of conversation that drop in your lap. Write your observations or even text them to a stranger such as myself. Watch how you become invisible to all but a few and relish the stream of humanity. Perhaps from there an image will float through a story will cause itself to be heard. But again there is no greater inspiration than new love or base betrayal, personal and crushing.
It never leaves us we leave it through, as you so well detailed, the oppressive responsibilties of life relationship and work. It lies awake waiting for our shadow to cross its threshold again.
Someone hinted on a glass of wine as a starter but I propose some incidental sketches or news for perusal. We are destined to write and on what suject and what sentences also. May not be a creative writing this, but I invoked energy to scribble these words from what I would have over looked some times if I were preposterous. Being a foriegner I have some laxity in expressions. Thank You.
Stephanie, of course it is possible. When Hemingway asked Gertrude Stein how he could become a great writer she said, write for ten years, every day. While I do not believe that everyone can be creative, you sound like you were, once. I suspect that you cannot return to that person in time but you certainly can reinvent yourself. I kept a journal from 1964-1986, then put it away and have returned to writing in the last 5 years. Do not worry about being comfortable in your skin, living tends to make that difficult, just work at creating something. P.S. With the exception of some pieces from my Journals, I destroyed all 60 volumes because they meant nothing to me when I finally returned to them. They reflected my past which, unlike Proust, I was not interested in remembering.
my reply is selfish, graphic. I put it as a blog post so as not to dirty your discussion. I would like to say I'm sorry for the ugly post (damn light keeps blinking off,on) but really. thank you---for finally putting some of this to paper.
Black ink on white paper becomes so very real.
and maybe i can put this chapter to bed.
Sometimes we expect too much of ourselves or try too hard to direct the creative process in a direction that is wrong for us, we think it should be one way, sort of like a limiting belief that if it doesn't come out a certain way as we imagine it should, we have failed. But there are no mistakes or failures in life, or art, just learning opportunities.
When I feel uninspired or feel my muse has abandoned me, I take up journaling or something even less formal and write out whatever comes into my mind, as if I'm talking to my self, as in train of thought. I don't edit, I have no direction or goal, I just sit and type away at the computer whatever it is that needs to come out and don't even read what I write, I just keep "talking" or typing out my thoughts, whatever direction they take and in time a theme or subject starts to emerge. Whether I've been in a poetry mode, non-fiction memoir mode or story mode. It develops a life of its own at times and I get lost and can write for hours in a fever even, nonsense, gibberish, brilliant thoughts, whatever. And then later I can go back and and see what was really inside of me, pick out the little gems and jewels of phrases, content, themes that will inspire me afterward to work on something. Either then or later. But it comes from the unconscious where your authentic self resides. You give yourself total freedom and ignore your internal editor because this writing doesn't matter. No one will see this but you, for you are only writing for yourself to find yourself. This is what works best for me. The same process can be used for painting as I also paint.
My circumstances, as relayed previously, are what stopped the physical writing process. I got rid of my beloved typewriter, which I regret today. I did not stop writing per se, at night to put myself to sleep I would (still do) write and re-write in my head. Design new stories, characters, plots; I'd even think about target audiences and graphics. So the creativity is still there. But I wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong with me that I found my reality in books all those previous years? A lit. professor would say that books aren't real, just made up stories, but I beg to differ. That is the crux of my problem; not the tragic circumstance but my total involvement with the written word. Books are safer, they are old friends revisited, they are excitement. Vicarious. Hmmmm? Gotta work on that a little more.
I once had a "creative" job copywriting for a high-powered ad agency. The guy who hired me asked the most intelligent question I've ever been asked in an interview: "What do you do when you're stuck?" After a few moments of thought, i answered impulsively but honetly: "I work on something else creative. That gets the creative juices flowing and i can get back to the assignment that had me stick."
It's never failed. If I can't write, I make a collage. If I can't do either, I take photos. Or whatever.
Hope it helps.
That is so wonderful; a tragedy that you would probably be called ADD. But I have found that those who can switch gears, especially creatively, are better able to handle Life. We mislabel them many times. Many years ago when I was a single working mom I would joke and say, " I go to work too relieve the stress of 4 kids and go home to relieve the stress of my boss." My particular creative flow seems to be of 'loose associations' or rambling thought patterns. (Labeled on a Psychiatrist intake form.) I can see you in my mind, one creative hole dries up and another erupts. Just oozing the stuff like Yellowstone. Thanks for reminding me of the different wells I have to draw from.