"Everything always passes, and everything is already okay. Stay in the place where you can see that, and nothing will resist you." - Martha Beck
(We are back from Grenada, but I will tell you all about it tomorrow. I haven't got my pictures ready yet, and a holiday needs to be illustrated! So today I am getting right back into the blogging book group.)
This week the chapter is about surrendering to your creative cycles. I had a hard time reading this bit of the book. It's not because it was too much or too hard (or because I am severely jet lagged) but because I feel that sometimes when we talk too much about the "darkness" or the "creative void" that it perpetuates the idea that if we don't have these dark creative blocks or if we don't feel like we are being tested for our art that somehow we are not artists.
For a long time I felt like I couldn't be an artist. It wasn't because of talent or about skill, it was because I didn't think I was full of enough angst. I wasn't carrying a sketchbook everywhere I went, or scribbling furiously in my diary every few minutes or lugging a guitar around with me like my 'artsy' friends were. Those people were artists. I was just me.
I wrote big colourful letters to friends and painted a sun on my ceiling. I scribbled in journals when I felt the need, and I doodled in the margins of my notebooks. I decorated my bedroom with beautiful things, and collected multi-coloured sunglasses. I acted in community theatre productions, ran the craft program at summer camp, and all the while I thought because I didn't feel the passion that these friends seemed to feel about art or music or drama, that I mustn't really be very artistic. What I now realize is that creativity isn't something that you can turn on or off or own or suffer through. It is how you live your life.
Please understand that I do completely agree with the concept of creative cycles. You can't force yourself to create a masterpiece every day. Everything and everyone needs to go through cycles of rest and renewal and growth and creation, but I think that getting lost in the drama of it all can be an enticing enemy. Using terms like "surviving the void" makes us feel like the creative cycles are scary and something to be overcome. I choose to believe that creative cycles are something to relish. Sometimes you show up and you can write pages, other times you only get three words onto a page before you realize that you actually want to be baking or painting or walking. Listening to these urges can bring out the most amazing things. I am going to tell you what I think: your art doesn't need angst to thrive. It just needs you living your life with all you've got, following your creative urges, and trusting that it will all make sense in the end.
...at least that is what I believe.
"... women who have been intimate with the creative process and created pots or books or prints or whatever, have a confidence in the cycles and the inevitability of the emergence of the new. Creative passions have come and gone, and therefore there is faith that inspirations will once again emerge." - Gail McMeekin