Friday, January 5, 2007

Courage in the face of memories

I have been pondering what makes a creative person. I know that people often say artists and writers are lonely people. I question that. I have a very strong certainty that these people arent lonely rather they are just "alone" people, people who value and need alone time. They need the time to meet themselves and to feel the inspiration that we sense in the presence of true creative works.

Take for example a writer. What makes a writer? It is easy enough to accumulate a bag of words and a great thesaurus. You can even learn by rote the rules of sentence structure and grammar. But even when faced by technically exquisite works some just don't resonate with the reader's heart. There is something more. There is something more to being a creative writer and I suspect it is courage.

I somehow feel that the authentically creative person is one who will take a flashlight down into the cavern of history and turn over some of the muck as well as opening the treasure chests that glisten. A person who is brave enough to kick aside the overturned bucket just in case something is there.

I often hear people say...."Oh I dont want to write my autobiography or memoir".
"Is that possible?" I think to myself "Is it possible to write anything without writing your own story, your own history?" I just dont believe it is.

The window we look through, the references we make, the subject and story choices we make are all determined by who we are. Equally as important are the choices we don't make. Often those very things that we try not to explore in our writing are the very things we probably could throw the most light on for our readers. Are these self imposed "no go" areas limiting our creativity? I dont know. I have this suspicion that the braver we are the more substance our writing has.

For me, I feel the most productive creative times come when I am just meandering through my thoughts and as if by magic I wander down a lane I haven't been before. One step in front of another with no idea where I am heading, I wander, as if led there. Am I uneasy? Sometimes. Sometimes I feel physically a little queasy and that is a sign to me that I am going into a place that maybe I have avoided. Isn't it funny how closely our physical body works with us? Isnt it incredible how your gut just lets you know that this might just not be a walk in the sunshine? It is then that I know that my writing has stirred something that I have covered up. I can choose to go there or I can turn down another lane which bypasses it. (I suspect that visual artists also experience these feelings because isnt great art, art that resonates with our personal experiences?).

I find the wonderful thing about writing is that you can write whatever you want and you can keep it or delete it. When that frightened voice murmurs "stop" in your ear then ,if the time is not right, then you can just hit the delete key and "khazzam" its gone. But it is never completely gone. For now you have shone the torch on the overgrowth and you will always wonder if you should go back and explore....maybe one bramble at a time to find out what treasures lie hidden.



Housewife said...


I'm enjoying your blog.

It's important to differentiate between alone and lonely, often times the two have little to do with one another.

RD said...

"the authentically creative person is one who will take a flashlight down into the cavern of history and turn over some of the muck as well as opening the treasure chests that glisten"

I love this metaphor; it is so appropriate. I totally agree that a large part of the creative process is bravery, as well! Great post!

Vic Grace said...

Thank you for your kind words when stopping by my blog.

I agree with your differentiation between alone and lonely. I don't think I have ever been lonely but I like to spend almost all my time alone. I find most people do not understand introversion, somehow you don't meet society's expectations to get out there and meet the rest of the world. I often am told by friends and acquaintances (rarely my husband, who understands me) that I need to get out more. Why? I am happy as I am, is that selfish? Is the world, being deprived of my company, somehow depleted? I think not.

I have never found writing fiction easy, although fact, maybe with a little embellishment, is comfortable, as long as it is in small pieces. So blogging is great for me.

I hope you do pop in from time to time and I will be back to read more.

janzjottings said...

I agree with all you say about writing and writers with one important difference. Never, ever, hit the 'delete button'. Stash it away out of sight, then come back to it, maybe years later. You'll find perhaps that you're ready to go down that byway, or life has changed your perspective and the hurdle is no longer so scarey.