I was recently given a beautiful Bumblebee Jasper which was calling my name today with the sweet voice of possibility and the fervent nudge of motivation. And then it was yelling my name. And then spitting it in a fit of righteous indignation as I struggled through six hours starting and scrapping projects of equally distracting and mostly disappointing proportions. I eventually conceded it just wasn’t in the cards, and that piece will not be made, then packed my tools away with a brooding sense of failure settling over me in cold, wet waves.
But, it happens. Sometimes our muse works in mysterious ways. What we think is abandonment is really just a re-organization of creativity, and we only have to adjust our perceptions and expectations regarding completing the projects we set out to finish. Maybe the Universe wants to be entertained in another capacity and we only need to listen for instruction.
So, on that note, I introduce to you my steps for re-organizing my creative processes. First, of course, is this blog. Writing, in general, is a fine way for me to recharge the creative batteries, without simultaneously totally stressing me out! Why? Because it is the only creative outlet through which I feel completely honest. There are no boundaries, no expectations, just writing for the sake of expressing myself without judgement. Though what I write is (mostly) public and the public has a natural and acceptable tendency to judge what’s written, I don’t write for money, nor for fame or reminiscence. But for the simple joy of observation and then reflection.
Poetry, in particular, suits my self-reflection best. It allows me to accept even the saddest and ugliest moments of life in a way that is collectively beautiful. Though poetry and writing, in general, contains a (hopefully) easy syllabic and grammatical flow, it still requires a high degree of consideration. Some sentences (like the previous one) can take several minutes to formulate. Sigh. But it is the act of creating a written collective that stimulates the creative drive.
Here are a few examples of my contemporary free verse poetry:
Morning, After Breakfast
At the edge of the wild marsh,
the sun overhead, un-fierce and dispirited,
and the geese which lengthened in the air and dilated,
you told me our souls were an eternal plant
in the pond. O, to be rich with earth,
meeting the water as it gives itself
to the shore.
And I Did
at the feet of Vishnu,
place your name on paper,
rolled it with long-winded evocations,
read the Upanishads and Vedas
over it, counted the mala beads,
all 108 with your long name,
and I did,
at his third eye,
wrap your hair like a crown,
which still smelled full
as mythics and myrrh,
and prayed “Vishnu! Vishnu!”
until your name
was frail & far away.
At the End of Winter
You were still and white,
torn, rendered down to the
cracked knee skin or, like a discovery,
the pond reeds yellowing
beneath the snow.
Both my elbows sat
on the porch table, cold with frost.
You looked like a boy, a moment of surprise,
the ground not yet looking like the ground at all
and your lips made an O without sound.
My body filled with light for one second
before you whistled and walked away
to watch the season end.
But sometimes, even the words wont come, so I pick up my pencil and my paper and settle in to create something fun, something completely impossible and full of mystery and childish delight and it almost always somehow involves wings on whatever creature or person has captured my fancy. Art provides for me the opportunity to involve myself in fantasy, despite any real refined skill, and indulge in the much-loved past time of interacting with imaginary friends, always cherished, always remembered.
Ah, but even then, art often eludes me. I struggle with the placement of lines, with the ability to represent the residents of my imagination with the full character of spirit they deserve. So I pack away the pencil and paper and turn to the one artistic endeavor which seems to fill me with satisfaction when all other endeavors turn dark.
I happened upon my love of portrait, pet and nature photography via the necessity for jewelry product photography. I can sit for hours waiting for a bird to land in its nest, rearranging my dogs to capture the light of a sunrise on their face, or capturing the annoyance of my teen sons when I ask them to pose for me. Again. Now I’m usually of a mind to appreciate nature from afar, specifically far far from spiders, but there are few things as satisfying as capturing a butterfly on the tip of a finger, I assure you. Though my skills are far from professional, I enjoy every moment of every shot and edit. And I enjoy sharing these moments with others.
And that’s how I work through a creative block. There are so many ways to express creativity, I simply move further along the line of possibility until I find a source that sticks.
If you find yourself throwing tools, pencils, camera lenses (but seriously… don’t do that), put them down and walk away. If it’s frustrating you, then what you create will carry that frustration with it, envelop your creation in a shroud of annoyance and mild misery. So, this public service announcement is as follows:
Don’t push your frustrations on others.
Instead, hide them like the shameful secret they are and work on something else! The Universe is bountiful with its beauty and pain, it’s unimaginable freedom and mystery, all of which have a story that need to be told. Are you up for the challenge?
Now on that note, I’ve got some poems to write, so I’ll leave you to your own creative muses. You can’t have mine. She’s busy making me look good. Or at least mostly passable.