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Monthly Archives: July 2011

31 Bryan Watson

The Breath of God

“I said, ‘I will guard my ways
That I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle
While the wicked are in my presence.’
I was mute and silent,
I refrained even from good,
And my sorrow grew worse.
My heart was hot within me,
While I was musing the fire burned;
Then I spoke with my tongue . . .” – Psalm 39, 1-3 (NASB)

“It’s all about soul” – Billy Joel

I’ve always loved to eat.  Always.  Dinners with my dad’s parents always produced an acute case of Bloated Couch Syndrome whereupon the patient needed to sit and allow time for digestion to begin and the ability to breathe easily to return.  Grandma was a cook of the old school: she used butter, lard, and pan-drippings.  She saved the fat that rendered out of meat and bones when she made stews and stocks and kept it to use in future dishes.  Somewhere along the line my parents got her and Grandpa a microwave oven.  They used it for storage.  Meanwhile, I usually managed to burn my Cheerios merely by pouring milk on them.  One thing I wished for, more than a lot of other things, was to be able to cook like Grandma did.  My hopes were regularly trod upon by reality.

And also by thermodynamics.

During all of this, I was of course a student in the public education system.  I always knew what my parents would say when they came home from parent-teacher conferences.  They would tell me my teachers thought I was a bright student, but I needed to apply myself.  Schools, however, are built to produce academians (and I don’t believe that is an actual word), not to identify and and improve on a student’s natural aptitudes.  The structure of the modern education system in Western cultures was created in the nineteenth century to prepare students for the industrial age.  I wonder if the thinking of the day was that the tinkerer, the artisan, and the craftsman would be done away with as newer and better machines became more easily available and more widely used.  Certainly their place in society wouldn’t be nearly as essential as it was in the century before.  And just as the culinary knowledge that my Grandma took for granted has given way to shelves of convenient mixes and complete meals ready to be cooked straight out of boxes and cans, so has the perceived importance of those who lived their lives at the whim of the Muse, and made their income in the in-between times by building things to the specifications of others, dwindled.

I, however, have not lost hope.  Because even though the average home cook doesn’t learn at their mother’s apron the sort of things that my Grandma did, those same people are starting to seek that knowledge out on their own.  Books, rather expensive ones, on cooking now fill up huge sections of bookstores, how-to cooking shows are rather big business, and shows like Iron Chef America,Chopped, and 24 Hour Restaurant Battle have turned dinner into a sporting event.  In the midst of all this, the demand for artisans and craftsmen has also seen an increase in recent years.  Some will likely say that this is due to the fact that we as a society now have the luxury (due to industrialization) to engage in activities and hobbies like glassblowing, blacksmithing, and podcasting.  I disagree.

If you ask me (and since you’re reading my article, I simply must assume that you have) artisans, chefs, writers, and the like are born, not made.  Sure, you can take a person with no real skills to speak of in the aforementioned areas and teach them how to sculpt a vase, build a lasagna, or compose a haiku with acceptable results, but that same person will usually also recognize when they see a product from someone who is a real master in their field.  I never figured that the love affair I began having with food at my Grandmother’s house would develop into any real skill in the kitchen; there was simply too much evidence to the contrary.  In the same way, I never believed the assertions of both my teachers and parents when they told me I was smarter than I gave myself credit for, that I just needed to apply myself and things would come together.  They didn’t seem to understand I was applying myself, I was trying; I just simply didn’t get it.  In high school, classes like theatre, forensics, and speech offered some respite from the constant assaults of academia on my creativity, but they were islands in an ocean.  College was the same, only more so and I didn’t last long.  I was forced to acknowledge one simple fact: I was and would remain a lousy student.  Then came cheesecake.

My Grandmother’s health had long since deteriorated to the point that she could no longer live on her own, much less cook any sort of complicated meal, and my inner glutton was suffering for it.  Then one day around 10:30 pm I suggested to a friend of mine that we try making cheesecake.  He immediately agreed this was as brilliant an idea as I thought it was and we made our way to the 24-hour market to buy what we needed.  The resulting pie would make me weep today for how it was constructed, how it tasted, and how it was presented, but it was still better than the fodder we’d been getting at restaurants in our quest to bury our sorrows under mounds of calories.  Of course, we both began receiving cheesecake requests from friends and family and soon craved variety.  I bought my first cookbook then, one devoted entirely to the art of cheesecakery.  I still refer to it from time to time today.

From there it went into cakes, pies, cobblers, roasts, pasta sauces, brines, marinades, birds, ice creams, and so on.  And I didn’t just learn recipes, I began looking under the surface for common elements, learning on my own the techniques and procedures that chefs learn in lieu of recipes.  Sure, I can give a person my recipe for my favorite turkey brine, but if I teach them how to build a brine they gain a skill that can be far more useful than a single recipe.  And somewhere in there I realized all the things that had caused my math teachers to pull their hair out in clumps while attempting to get me to comprehend were starting to make sense.  Same with the physical sciences, a good amount of biology, chemistry, even history and geography.  I was learning and not only loving it, I was motivating myself to learn more.

As a Christian I view a lot of things through spiritual lenses.  C.S. Lewis once said: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  I promise not to get preachy in this article.  I do, however, want to draw on my faith to make a point.  I believe that God gave us a natural desire to go out and learn all that we can.  And even if you don’t believe in God, a god, any gods, or just aren’t sure, we can all agree on one thing, if nothing else: there’s a whole lot out there that we don’t understand and it drives us bugshit.

The word “inspire” is actually used rather sparingly throughout the Christian Bible with writers like Peter and Paul preferring to use it to refer to a direct revelation of God unto an individual, in these cases one who was plumbing the deep mysteries of the universe.  When Paul used the word he talked about inspiration being the breath of God, a breeze from which all of us could learn, teach, and correct that which was incorrect.  Peter and Paul, however, were both speaking on purely spiritual matters.  When it comes to art, I think divine inspiration is not only a lot more common, it’s built into all of us whether we realize it or not.

Our desire to go out and understand the universe is older than dirt, and people like David, Solomon, Job, Moses, Plato, Homer, Socrates, and Aristophanes all used art to try and make it all make some sense.  Like the blind men groping onto different parts of an elephant, we all come away with a little piece of the puzzle that is both correct and incomplete.  We debate and argue, we fight and scream, we plot and collaborate, and we’re still not really any closer to discovering the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.  So help us, God.

When Job asked God for answers on why his quality of life had recently taken a steep downward turn, God’s reply was a rather lengthy monologue which essentially broke down to: “I’m God, you’re not. Shut up.”  Job got better, had a moment or two of clarity, and wrote one of the oldest epic operas in existence that, despite what some may tell you, does not confirm the actual existence of fire-breathing dragons, nor that dinosaurs and man ever co-existed.  It was an attempt by one man to tell his friends, neighbors, family, and anybody else who would listen the deeply personal and complex spiritual journey that Job had undertaken while sitting in ashes and scratching his sores with a shard of pottery.  Could he have said: “I believe that God is real because He spoke to my heart and showed me my big-ass pride problem”?  Probably, but he found it more effective to write down a poem that would cover the journey from start to finish and tell it in a way that the average person could relate to.  (After all, who hasn’t had a crappy time of things every now and then, and then had to deal with well-meaning friends who keep giving exactly the wrong advice?)  In fact, I submit Job’s own personal journey started making a great deal more sense to him only after he’d written it down and examined it anew.  I’ll even go so far as to say that he got even more enlightenment when he had to talk about the work with others.

The recent resurgence of independent artisans isn’t because we have the luxury of supporting them, but because humanity needs them.  In the end, I think art is a reaction to our own helplessness in the vast ocean of existence.  We struggle and strain, and we can’t always see how our own actions are impacting the world around us, so we make something up to help us cope.  Whether it’s writing sonnets, building a dessert plate at a fine dining restaurant, or painting a mural, we’re all of us trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense.  And when we do, something truly and literally awesome begins to happen: things start to make sense.

Not all of it, I don’t think we’ll ever understand all of it, but every now and then we get epiphanies that make the fact that we don’t get all of it fade to the background because we’ve finally understood a part of it and the feeling is like a drink of cool water after long hours of work on a summer’s day.  That, people, is inspiration.

Inspiration isn’t what happens when I get the idea for a new story, or the idea to make a chile-chocolate cake, or when I search my heart and the Scriptures for some wisdom to get through life, it’s what I get when I finally see how those things can be made to work.  It’s when we realize that life can and does have direction and meaning, and that what we do and say can echo throughout eternity if we simply take a deep breath and shout from time to time.

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

30 Keith Hughes

Hi! could you give me a minute? I’m waiting for inspiration to strike. It’ll just be a moment.

Any time now….

(checks watch)

Hmmm, while my muse tries to come up with a mind-blowing theme for this post, at least I’ve got myself in the right position. I’m sitting at my computer with my fingers on the keys. Sometimes I think that’s half the battle, just being ready to act. If I were lying in bed or watching TV I can tell you exactly how many words I’d write: zero. That would probably be the case even if my muse was as sadistic as Carol Kane was in Scrooged.

So being ready is a good step in inviting inspiration to come. The other thing I’ve found is that being in motion makes things easier than standing still. No, I’m not talking about running around my small office, but about getting the words moving. I’ve written three novels as part of National Novel Writing Month, an annual event where authors try to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. One thing about NaNoWriMo is that there is not time to stare at a blank page and wait for just the right scene to appear in my mind. I’ve got just under 1,700 word to write every day and there’s no time for dilly-dallying. One trick that I’ve developed is to just give my character something ordinary to do: make coffee, take a shower, eat some toast.

Sometimes just writing about something simple will get the thoughts moving. Does my hero get to finish his toast? Does he run out of hot water before he’s finished showering? I’ve found that just by getting into the flow of putting words to page my mind will be automatically working ahead on what comes next. When the true point of the scene emerges it will seem so ridiculously obvious that I wondered how I could have missed it moments before. Even if the domestic details that came before are boring and need to go away, that’s part of that long process called editing. But that’s another blog post!

However, my muse can be a perverse little creature, and tends to strike at the oddest moments. Many have been the times that I’m working in the yard when I’ll freeze for as some new idea in relation to my current work washes over me. This is inevitably followed by a long “Ohhhh!” of discovery. Of course I want to run inside and pound on the keys, but alas the lawn is only half-mowed, so a little self-discipline is called for.

Another place where inspiration often strikes for me is in the shower. There’s something about me and water and soap that gets the ideas flowing. I’ve had some great ones there in regards to character arcs and plot. It happens so often I’ve considered getting a waterproof memo board. When I get a watery revelation my reaction is similar to what I described before, only wetter. Once again a wee bit of restraint is called for, or else I’d drip soap everywhere as I ran for my computer.

I think the key to both my yard work and showering inspirations is that my mind is not fully engaged in the creative process. I’ve got a certain portion of my attention paid to what I’m doing, and so the rest of my brain is allowed a little more freedom to explore new paths. By giving the detail-oriented side of my brain something to do, my more impulsive side can lead me to some wonderful places.

As I look over at what my fingers have accomplished here I realized that I’ve just written a blog post without any help from a pesky muse. And guess what, you can perform any kind of creative endeavor without one, too! If you’re a writer, sit down at the keyboard and just start writing. If you’re a painter, stand in front of your canvas and get your brush moving. And remember that sometimes giving your fore-brain something simple and mindless to do releases your hind-brain to present a creative solution or idea you’ve never considered before.

Inspiration can’t be forced, but sometimes if you put yourself in the right place at the right time you can invite it to join you. When that happens you’ll freeze for a moment and let out a loud “Ohhhh!” of discovery. Then your family and neighbors will think you as strange as mine do, but as long as the ideas keep flowing I think we can both live with that.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

29 Ken Gainor

The Mythos of “Crea-Art-Spiration”

Creativity, Art, and Inspiration: Three words every person with the functional equivalent of an eighth-grade education knows, and three words that not a damned one of us can truly define… or at least, define for someone else.

Really, think about it: How do YOU define these words? How would you explain what they mean to you to me, or to your mother/brother/coworker? Does even the do-all end-all god of definitions Webster have them exactly right? What is the absolute bare essence meaning of even one of these words, let alone all three?

I sure as hell don’t know. I just know what I believe them to mean. How they move me, drive me, and push me to do what has so far been a terrifying tight rope walk of bliss and trembling. And that is what I share here now.

(Warning: The opinions expressed here are the unique ramblings of the author, and may/may not have anything to do with common sense, basic reality, or anything resembling a coherent point. Reader discretion is strongly encouraged, and should have been a foresight before you started reading… Unless you like the blathering of an inebriation enthusiast, in which case, come on in, crack a cold one, and enjoy.)

Let’s tackle each term individually; in the order our gracious hostess has listed them:

Creativity. The magical art of doing something that’s been done at least a hundred times before, but in a way that looks “unique” to whoever views it. Because, let’s be honest, by this time in human existence, there truly is little, if anything, that hasn’t been done already. You disagree? Ok, how many times have you heard someone talk about the newest movie/T.V. show/New York Times best-seller and say: “It was rather good/bad. It reminded me a lot/a little of So-and-so’s ‘Title’?” How many times has someone else’s work lit that spark inside you to craft your own project?

Creativity is so difficult to truly achieve in this day and age, when so much has already been made, and is so readily accessible to the masses via the internet. Movies, pictures, quotes and stories, all awaiting a few keystrokes. Is there really a story left to tell that has not yet been told?

And yet, creativity is inherent in each and every individual work that comes into existence. Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen a specific play, more than once, with different cast members? Feel free to insert “movie” for “play” if there was a remake of said movie, if you need to. Were the characters the same? Did they resonate the same way? What about a cover of a song? Did the new band play/perform the song exactly the same way? Or did each individual rendition of the work in question have its own take, its own unique spin?

That is the true essence of “creativity”… That innate ability we each have to do things “just a bit different than anyone else.” And this is what makes each endeavor meaningful, regardless of the viewer’s opinion of the work’s quality. The artist’s mere involvement in the work leaves their own mark upon it, and that alone is creativity, no matter how great or terrible the final product.

Next, we find Art. A term that has had endless debates, discussions, and especially conventions centered around it. Each and every single person that has ever walked the earth has had a definition for this word, and it can easily be imagined that not a one of them has been the same. Music, poetry, literature, sculptures, all have been called art in their day, and all have been dismissed by the next person in line. One person screams “Picasso” as the next bellows “Seinfeld.”

And what of those who don’t appreciate the semi-agreed upon “standard brands of art?” What about the mathematician who looks at the beauty of the Pythagorean Theory, and sees art? Or the mechanic who exalts the exquisite beauty of the “art of the Hemi engine? Is there not an artistic beauty within the strings of ones and zeros that make up the software we use each day?

The true definition of art is in its inability to be defined. No one can pin a nametag to art, and call it so, and yet art simply is, and always shall be. We each see art differently, hopefully, seeing it at least briefly each day. It is that which, in and of itself, is completely unnecessary for our survival, and yet, that which we would die without. It is what drives us, releases us, ignites our passions, pleases and confounds us. Art simply is… Art.

Which brings us to Inspiration. A term a million authors sipping a million cups of coffee could spew a million theories about, and still, not a damned one would work to inspire number 1,000,001. Is it reading the works of others? No no, it’s music, but not that kind of music, this kind. Screw that, grab booze, for booze is the best inspiration of all!

Long have artists glorified and lamented the mythical “Muse” for their craft. She finds them, brings divine inspiration, leaves, and casts a dark cloud over their work. She is fickle, she is giving. And she is complete bullsh*t.

Inspiration is not magical. It isn’t even tangible. It simply happens, often at inconvenient times. It is that thing that strikes a creator’s creativity with enough force to actually put it in motion, driving it past the lethargy and self-doubt that is ingrained in every creator from the time of their creation.

Inspiration is simply that which has the power to move you to act, rather than simply dream. You can see an image to paint in your mind, but true inspiration will force your hand to find the brush, and makes each stroke. It is what takes that story in your mind, and leads you off of the couch, sitting you in front of the keyboard, never resting until the last word is typed. Inspiration is what causes you to finally drop the word “aspiring” from in front of writer/painter/sculptor, and simply create.

And there we are: Three words, filled with so much meaning, defined for each of us, indefinable by any one of us. Words that drive us to create, to seek, to push ourselves. And thankfully, words that craft communities, such as this one, here, where this post resides. Each person who has posted here, and each reader, we all share at least one friend in common, likely many more. Creativity, Art, and Inspiration are what has brought us together, to commiserate, cooperate, and collaborate in our individual crafts. We share, debate, and inspire, drawing the creativity out of each other, to create our own art. Exactly as it was always meant to be.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

28 J. Daniel Sawyer

Creativity and Virtuosity

“CREATIVITY”

Sounds important, right? Sounds pretty grand?  I think so. I’m with
Julian Simon in believing that creativity is the ultimate natural
resource.

It’s easy, though, to go from thinking highly of creativity to idolizing
it. Externalizing it, by calling it your “muse.” Mystifying it by
calling it “inspiration.” Specializing and rarefying it, by using words
like “talent.”

I think all of those words are bullshit. Creativity is the basis of
human intelligence–it takes leaps of imagination to learn language, to
explore, to grow.  Where most people think of creativity as this extra
something that comes in on top of things like solving a math
problem or driving a car, I’ve become convinced from my reading of
neurology that creativity is the engine that drives even these mundane
activities.

But if that’s true, why do most people feel uncreative?

Part of it, I think, comes from the way we idolize creativity. By
conceiving of creativity as this special extra substance, we cordon off
the everyday world in a curtain of gray, isolating it from the sense of
adventure and fun that would imbue it if we were, for example, five
years old.

Part of it, too, is that creative thinking is dangerous–even a
seemingly harmless piece of creative thought (such as the idea that heat
can be transformed into motion with a very simple machine) can
completely remake an entire civilization if people run with it. As
social creatures, we’re disposed toward not making waves, and so as we
grow we’re subtly disincentivized from indulging in all but the most
useless forms of creative thought.  The thrill of thinking dangerous
things gets coupled with shame, and more ordinary forms of creativity
get shunted to the side as unimportant.

And I also think that people confuse creativity with “talent”–another
X-factor that nobody defines. While it’s true, so far as I can tell,
that different people are born with different aptitudes for certain
things (intelligence, athleticism, music, etc.), and that those
aptitudes get fertilized by the way a person grows, this doesn’t spell
creative genius–and it doesn’t mean that you, if you feel like you’re
on the short end of the genetic/environmental stick–are uncreative.
Great painters and composers and writers and lovers and inventors are
made, not born–and even as adults, after all the conditioning we’re
subject to as we grow up, we can still learn new things.  If you first
learn to paint at 40, you might not ever be as good as the person who
was encouraged from the age of six, but so what? The important thing is
that you enjoy the learning process, and cross apply that daring to try
new things to other areas. Virtuosity–that seemingly effortless,
perfect creativity that people envy–isn’t inborn. It comes from years
of deliberate practice (this is why there are so many “talented” people
working desk jobs and living lives that bore them to tears–being told
you’re talented makes you lazy).

In other words, the X-factor of “Talent” is bullshit too.

So, as you read this blog series on creativity, spare a moment to
consider:
Creativity isn’t just about art. It drives science, technology,
religion, relationships, culture, parenting, and jigsaw puzzles.  You’re
probably creative a thousand times a day–you already know how to do it.
If you’re blocked, don’t despair–just look for places you’re habitually
creative and draw from them, and use them to remind yourself how it’s
done.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

27 John Merlin

I’d like to start with a couple of house keeping issues. Firstly, Thanks to Sue for inviting me along. Secondly, There’s no such thing as Scotch. It’s Whisky. Without the ‘e’.

Now that’s out of the way.

My name is John Merlin. I’m a 20 something, Brit who is now living in Florida. I write. I design. I code. I take photographs. How good am I at any or all of these? That depends entirely on how much exposure you have to each of those disciplines and what day you’ve caught me on. I “won” NaNoWriMo in 2010 with a novel about zombies in New York. It’s not available yet as editing is my weakness. I’ve a degree in Web Technology, which means I can build you a website from logo design through to server management. A photo I took whilst at a Cubs game in 2009 was published on the Schmap website.

But that’s who I am.

It doesn’t tell you what creativity means to me.

To be creative is to see another way of doing things. This could be anything from finding an alternate route to work, to putting a twist on a familiar story. If you’re finding a new way to do an old thing, that’s being creative. You don’t have to be painting masterpieces or writing the next best seller. You just have to think differently.

An example of this from my younger days was when I was playing Delta Force: Task Force Dagger. It’s a game noted for two things: 1) It was the first video game to be set in an ongoing conflict 2) It had more shades of brown than any game, ever. It’s a very typical shooter: Go here, kill him, blow up this, go there, make your escape. But the suggested routes never seemed to work for me. So whilst people were saying how they completed level X in 10 minutes, I was taking that 10 minutes to get to the vantage point, overlooking the encampment. Often it meant long treks through very brown mountains.

But it was creative.

What does this mean for most people? Firstly it means that a larger number of people can call themselves creative. It also means opportunities for being creative are all around us. So grab your camera, pick up that joypad, alter that recipe, or even just look at that map and work out how you can avoid that five minute traffic light you always catch.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

26 J. Sterling Smith

Inspiration is realizing the world is nothing but raw materials. Creativity is the nerve to take those raw materials and combine them in ways to tell a story or share an emotion. Art is the result.

Inspiration… I personally believe that many people use this world inaccurately. Inspiration is NOT something that happens to you. This kind of thinking makes it seem like it’s a hit or miss deal or something that you can turn off. Inspiration is all-encompassing and eternal. The only way you can’t be inspired is by not being open to it. Inspiration is in the way a seagull swoops through the air. Inspiration is the person who just walked past you in the street, it’s driving the car next to you. It’s the newspaper sitting on your front porch. It’s the magazine sitting on your coffee table. Inspiration simply IS. If you’re not feeling inspired get out and just SEE what is there. Take a walk and don’t LOOK for anything, just note what IS there. Let your mind wander as your feet move.

Creativity is taking the inspiration that you just felt and figuring out how it fits in the puzzle that you’re working on. Sometimes it’s the place that inspired you, othertimes it’s taking the person who just handed you your coffee and seeing how they fit in your story. It’s seeing the patten on a woman’s skirt and realizing how those colors would look awesome in a new yarn colorway. It’s taking the colors that nature provided and painting an alien skyscape. It’s seeing animals that look mundane but are far from such.

Art is the result of taking inspiration and forging it using creativity. Inspiration is the raw material. Creativity is the process and Art is the result. In my eyes all Art tells a story or shares an emotion. Sometimes we don’t understand what it’s sharing on a conscious level but we feel the change that it’s wrought deep inside of us.

Inspiration is like a tree, creativity is the process of the tree producing and dropping it’s fruit. Art is the fruit of the process and also bears the seeds for new inspiration. There are those who say they are not creative. They deceive themselves. We are all creative in our own ways. Some are masters at combining paints, others at combining different yarns, while still others are the experts at combining lies into giant steaming piles of crap.

We are all artists. The only real question is what do we want our Art to say about us?

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

25 Neil Colquhoun

Creativity, Art & Inspiration

Have you ever written something that comes from within the recesses of your mind and has not been viewed before on the page?

Do you use your hands to fashion something from a pile of components and materials that never existed before?

Are you inspired to do something by all that is around: in the air, on the ground, in the water and in your heart and mind?

If so, then the creative gene within is alive.

******

The age of creation will never die.

From that first speck of dust which bonded with another and eventually formed this mortal coil that we call home to each word that lies on this page, the process is ongoing and eternal. An organic, shifting and continuous system that makes us what we are also pushes us forward, and we never tire of seeing what’s just over the horizon.

And I follow the path to the horizon although I never reach it. I try, and along the way meet many people from all walks of life, visit many great cities, see wondrous buildings and listen as the music moves me.

******

I see stories in the memories and images of the many paths I walk. My head sometimes knows that there is something in what I have encountered, yet there are times my heart is the leader.

A sentence of a newspaper, a word spoken by a person in a conversation, the way a woman smiles and laughs, the curve of the stone in an ancient amphitheatre, a song where the combination of the music and the lyrics evokes an emotional response, a sunset over an impressive skyline, night-time sounds in an empty city, early morning cups of tea where the only person alive appears to be me, regrets of decisions made which seemed correct at the time, a wish for times gone by, a desire to know what lies within my heart, a baby’s smile – these are some of the triggers, which by no means are all that move me, that spark off my creative process.

And that process begins as a tiny spark, flickering briefly into life. Sometimes that spark may flutter and die, never to live again; but more often than not, that spark catches some of the kindling, that upon closer inspection is a pile of words, and sets it alight.

What emerges from the fire which threatens to engulf everything I know is sometimes beautiful and poetic, sometimes hideous and twisted, sometimes a mixture of both; but whatever the combination, it can be said that it is art.

******

Art is subjective.

Art is beauty to one person and ugly to another.

Anything creative is art.

Deception is cruelty, and clarity is purity.

******

I’ve ruined things. I’ve hurt people. I’ve wasted time. I’ve nearly died – these are all true.

And I write to feel alive.

I create to get the demons out of my head, and I see beauty and wonder in all around me. Yet I also see horror and despair, and feel sad – but what can I do?

All I can do is take that inspiration, hope that the spark becomes much more and create something which moves someone else.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts