The Artist’s Way

images-1 Just like the car pulled to the side of the road without any gas in it to turn its wheels- I am all out of inspiration. My drive to be creative has got a flat tire. This feels like I imagine pushing a cranky boulder up a hill would feel. Why do it? What is the point? So many people in the world being creative, writing and making art- who needs more? So I feel like I have retired the pen and paint brush. My drive to engage imaginatively with these tools of creative expression has become perverted. I see them sitting there on my desk. I observe them in the same way a sexually aroused man will shamefully stare at a woman through half shut drapes. Just like that man I don’t have the drive to go up and knock on the window and tell the woman what I want. Instead, I stay hidden behind the tree. So much desire but little will to act.

It is a strange place for me to be in. It is as if I have lost my creative drive in the same way an older man may lose the ability to have an erection. My hope is that I have only misplaced it. For most of my adult life my creative drive has been right there at my finger tips, determined to not just make something but also determined to make history. It has forced me to sit down at my desk and create. It has demanded that I spend my afternoons and evenings doing so. But now that demand has all but abated. It feels as if my creative drive has retired. My will to make great art, to write profound literature has gone limp. I never really saw this day coming. I had always heard how you can’t force the creative. How you have to wait for it in the same way that you would wait patiently for the fermenting of wine. I took great consolation and satisfaction in the fact that this did not apply to me.

My fear is that it is now gone. My fear is that domestic bliss has chased it away. My fear is that the same thing that happened to Hemingway is happening to me. My fear is that the demands of growing older and having a profession have corrupted the freedom, vision, struggle, uncertainty and commitment that is need to sustain a creative life. My fear is that the pressures and expectations of the work obsessed society in which I live has beaten the dreamer out of me.

So what do I do? Learn to wait? I believe in visions and prayers so I use these modalities to strike a match in the dark. To seduce creativity back into my finger tips. To coerce the drive to create literature and art back into my will.

In the same way that I have to be forced onto a dance floor, I now have to be forced to create. This makes it hard because there is no one pulling me towards the paintbrush or pen. People do not care half as much about me being creative as they do about me getting on that dance floor. I don’t blame them. It is all me, myself and I. I am told and to an extent believe that I define the life that I live. For now maybe that definition needs to include a lack of creative ingenuity. An absence of art shows, publications, blog posts and day after day spent blissfully engaged in the creative process.

Just as if I was to go to my bank and withdraw $5,000 dollars I would be told that the money is not there, the same seems to be happening to me when I want to write or make art. I am turned away. The will towards action is not there. So instead I play with my dog, I clean my house, I read, I go grudgingly to work, I grow older, I hang out on ebay, I escape through music, I walk, I go on fun adventures with my beautiful wife, I eat (a lot), I garden, I remember, I practice gratitude/acceptance, I sit for long periods staring out windows and I go about my life sometimes painfully aware of what is no longer there.

5 thoughts on “The Artist’s Way

  1. I feel your pain. I’m in a similar place, though mine is brought about by the lack of audience for what I do. No matter how idealistic we may be about art and the life of an artist, having few people view your artwork eventually dries up your inspiration – at least it has for me, for now. But I have faith that it will return, and I expect yours will eventually too. It will likely sneak up on you when you least expect it.

    A blog gives plenty of options for playing, and after giving yourself space to not create, the best way to set the juices flowing again is to play. No aims for a finely honed product, no cares if anyone wants to view it or not, and the more honest we are about our trials, the more readers want to read and the more our juices get flowing again.
    Out of nothing something new can grow. Perhaps, like me, a new direction is quietly forging inside.

  2. I 110% agree with you Tahlia. After laboring so hard for almost 25 years, making so many sacrifices and still not having the recognition does indeed take a toll on inspiration.

    I feel like possibly I am leaving one stage and moving into another where making art/writing is just about the act of doing so. Pure improvisation. The sure enjoyment/contentment of being creative with no care beyond that. A way of engaging with awareness/life. A meditation. Most of my life I feel I have had a lot of expectations attached to the act of being creative. I wanted to write novels that brought me money/fame and make art that sold for enough money to pay my rent. I wanted to be a successful artist/writer so I could tell my parents “see!!! I told you so!!” All kinds of expectations driving me. But now these expectations are dwindling away. I have found a greater form of consciousness/awareness in which to reside and another line of work where I can help others, do what I am good at and earn a living and am now trying to come to terms with where being an artist/writer/reader fits into all this- if at all. Like you said- possibly “a new direction is foraging inside.”

  3. is that your art?! wowsah….i could only dream of such craftmanship. sorry to hear you’re down in the dumps. the theory of displacement may help: though you may not be active in your creativity, perhaps you are benefitting from it (artistic gifts) and not even know it. most people would be in a funk and on their way to the psych to get some antidepressants. you sound like your soul has got your back! that’s where all that creativity comes in handy. don’t give up, keep at it, but don’t push yourself so hard that you become loathesome to yourself and those around you. find the art in being able to enjoy the absence of something which can be replaced with something new??? or nothing. i find choice to be quite the inspiration!!!

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