Good morning, everyone,
I’ve been traveling nonstop for 3 1/2 weeks – back and forth across the country by plane, and up and down the city-slicked East Coast and over the farm-bestrewed Appalachians by car. I’ve been citified and countrified. I’ve been noise-crowded and quiet-becalmed. I’ve eaten dinner alone in a jammed NY restaurant, and I’ve stopped at my favorite grass airstrip off I 64 and watched a solitary hawk thermal above sleeping metal airbirds. I’ve contemplated the shifting priorities and needs of my own life, frustrated at how difficult it often is to blend harmoniously my creative desires with the needs of others in my life.
We are each of us different creative selves. To pretend that what one painter, one writer, one sculptor…one person…needs should be the same as what any other such person needs is called denial. While some creative souls are brilliant at creating in public, others need solitude and quiet.
Such a one am I. And increasingly do I also need contact with nature and things to which nothing technological is attached. While I love the MacBook Pro on which I type at this moment – and I do consider it a work of art in it’s own way – my creative self is born when my technology is turned off, when I watch hawks kettle, bees swarm, a caterpillar eat a kale leaf, a winter bird land on the iced-over birdbath and determinedly chip through with its beak to the sliver of water underneath.
I share this article about writer Jill McCorkle’s seemingly ideal country writer life with a bit of hesitation. Not many of us have this. But it shouldn’t matter. What’s important is her exploration of her life, her willingness to change and evolve, the continual surprise of the unknown, and, of course, that she found a way to return to her creative self in a new skin. Like the seasons, our interior soul selves shift constantly. But do we listen when they talk to us? Or are we on automatic pilot, doing today what we did yesterday, next week what we did last year, hanging onto the past instead of evolving into the unknown?
I keep returning to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and the impact it has had on me throughout my life. Whenever I forget its basic lesson – that having a bit of money and a room (not a palatial estate) in which to create is essential – it’s easy to get off track. As McCorkle says of her own writing room,
“I like it because it is one of the places where you can really feel the years.”
These days I read what I consider to be a lot of nonsense online about how one should be able to write and/or create anywhere. Really? Who said so? And, what?, every painter and sculptor and pot thrower should now be doing so in public? Now that the Internet has taken over everyone’s lives all artists’ studios should be abandonned? The world of creativity is, what? public? simply because the Internet is public? Rubbish.
If you are a creative person, don’t listen to what anyone says about how you should be doing it.
Bravo to the artist who can create in public surrounded by chaos.
Bravo to the artist who chooses solitude.
Hallelujah to a cast of hawks that kettle ensemble.
And Amen to the bird that flies free by itself.
Happy April. Maybe Spring will finally arrive.
Have a lovely day.
#writers #writerslife #writing