I suppose I've always been a little preoccupied with understanding the creative process. Ever since I went to Real School and someone told me I was Very Kreative and I was puzzled as to why they thought this about me. Isn't everyone? And then for Geography once I drew a forest. Also at Real School. A deep dark forest, with milky greenish white tree trunks and dark spaces in between the tree trunks. Because that's what forests look like, right? the gaps between the trees are dark, coz there's no light in the forest. Murky. And then my Geography teacher wrote in red pen next to my forest 'tree trunks must be brown.' And then I started to understand. Some people aren't lucky enough to have parents who give you a whole wall next to your bed that you are allowed to draw on. Some people are told they must not go over the lines when they colour in. Some people have their imaginations vaccuumed out of them quite young, poor souls. Some people forget that we are all entitled to call ourselves artists, because making stuff is just a normal part of being a well rounded human. Isn't it?
And then there's that weird phrase they tell you: '1% Inspiration, 99% Perspiration.'
Well its true I spose. Kingfisher wings flash at you only once in a while, but ants toil to get their kingdoms built. There's a shitload of gathering and ferrying of pollen before the honey oozes.
This blog started as an attempt to take seriously those ladies who love watery grottoes. Honouring the Muses. Sounds pretty trite, but having been deserted by them before, I do take em seriously, and will make the necessary libations. Its true that there are certain conditions that need to be in place if you want the kingfisher to swoop malachite and turquoise at you once in a while. The one I'm most interested in is this link between wild spaces and the creative heart. For me they are intrinsically connected. As we box in our wildernesses and burn our forests for burgers, aren't we also collectively desertifying our imaginations? That's what makes me go all chilly in the night.
I teach young aspirant creatives, aka drama students. I also teach teachers how to nurture creativity in the very young. I'm always a little shocked by the attitude that inspiration is something mysterious, that Creative is something you either are or you aren't, like you don't have to work for it. Drink, take drugs, and let the Muse strike when she's ready. Er, sorry pal. She's got better things to do.
I'm also often engaged in the task of raising start-up money for creative projects and I'm equally shocked by how both 'The Arts' and 'Nature / Environment' are so low on the priority lists, how they are something 'over there', nice to have but not as important as dot dot dot, those other things old Maslow said are more important. And how we artits (spelling unintentional but I'll keep it)all participate in our own grovelling. (I swing pendulum-like on this issue: sure I believe I must be paid my worth for the creative work I do. But if the money's not there its not going to stop me doing it).
I don't believe in Writers Block by the way. But I do believe that anyone can become creatively bankrupt, burned out, stale, flat, blah, polluted. And I do think you can suffer from some kind of internal terror, a kind of page fright where you are so concerned with the Other, the Audience, the Big Scary, your Grade 3 English teacher or whoever it is that whispers in your ear that your words are Not significant /too self indulgent or whatever else may be your personal creative Tippex.
So, mindful of the fact that I've been an infrequent blogger of late, I'm giving myself a map. Some musings (yes, I know) for the year ahead. Talking points, you know. For when I have nothing to say, or when I'm saying it all somewhere else and forget to pop in here.
With apologies to Julia Cameron, lets call it The Muses' Way. Some proposed route markers in this conversation:
Angel or Demon (Or, Things that go dump in the night)
Silence (or, You can't hear the stars if the TV is on)
Food (or Eat your artist's dates)
Water (Seriously though)
Vantage Point (or, mapping, or having a nice view)
Company (or, Get the hell out of my space)
Pollen (or, Group sex behind the wild irises)
Privacy and exhibitionism (or, Do you want to see me naked?)
Procrastination (or, Ooh look, a recipe for pickled garlic)
Composting and Recycling (or, How do I get rid of all this old crap?)
Harvest (or, Don't forget to say thanks)
Theft: Steal, but don't lie
Forest/trees, chaos/order, left brain/right brain (and other mythical dualisms)
Curiosity (did not kill anyone, not even a cat)
Not that I am announcing all future blog topics here. Good God no. I need to leave space for the unexpected odd ramblings, rants and reasonings. Nor am I offering any words of self help how-to for the creatively malnourished. Sorry. No fountain of wisdom here. Hopefully, just some points to trigger questioning. Coz when the curiosity goes, that my friend, is the day you have become a frightful old bore. So, which one shall we talk about first?