Don’t let a stranger fool you. Creativity is a personal thing. I can’t tell you how or what or why it is such a thing for you. You are the only one that can define it. I am a story teller, I make up the truth. By my own label, I write bizarro fiction. Not the ‘you have arms growing out of your forehead hell-bent on taking over the world no matter what you do to stop them’ type of bizarro (although, I have plenty of talented writer friends that create such wondrous things of beauty). No, I create surreal tales full of false realism, unfunny humor (that can feign hilarity), and places that float between reality and subconscious meanderings only to find a comfy spot somewhere on the edge of perception. But that’s just me. Creativity is a personal thing.
Don’t let a stranger fool you. Inspiration comes on its own dime and on its own time. Because I can’t bribe it, or force it, or entice it to snuggle up on my shoulder and lean softly in to my ear to tell me what to write, I have come to appreciate the silence when my uncooperative muse is asleep. Which is more times than not (she [my muse] must party often; she sleeps later and later these days).
So, I don’t rely on fickle inspiration. That may seem odd since there is so much in our world set into play just to inspire us. The subtle beats and chord changes of a favorite song. The heart-felt stories of someone’s loss and their ability to find hope in even the darkest times. The order and disorder of nature bathing us with chaotic beauty. Why can’t I as a writer rely on those things to create, to tell? That’s not a simple question to answer. I can only hope to get close by sharing why I write at all.
I write to create. To fall blissfully in love with a thing or a world or a thought. To give myself fully to the process, the output, and the belief that I did something new, different. It’s like really falling in love the first time. You know exactly what I mean. I write to share. To humbly let others in. It’s terrifying, it’s stressful, and it’s sublime. I don’t want to be rich. Or famous. Or critically acclaimed. I want to be remembered if even by one person.
I appreciate the finite beauty of a blank page quietly staring back at me. Taunting me to say something, whisper or yell at it, to start that first sentence that will be the next short story or novella or novel. I love what we all call ‘writer’s block’, that invisible cinderblock wall, eighteen feet high and two feet thick that runs for miles and miles in both directions threatening to stop all forward motion forever. I love the pang of apprehension when a plot takes a turn I didn’t plan for, or expect, or even want. I love the fear of rejection just so I can appreciate the warmth of acceptance even more.
So, I don’t rely on inspiration. I sit down every day at my computer, or with my notebook, and I write something. Even if it is just a sentence. Every day, I mull over plot ideas, character development, and new ways to say old things in my little head. Writing is work. It isn’t free and it isn’t easy.
Don’t let a stranger fool you. When my muse wakes up from her months-long nap, I welcome her like an old pair of jeans. I let her take me to places I’d never go on my own and we laugh and cry together. But when she’s away, I keep doing what I do without her and she is forced to catch up quickly on the next visit.
But what do I know? I’m just a stranger that has an uncanny knack at creating weird little stories that end up in the strangest of places. Don’t let a stranger fool you. Your art is just as beautiful as anyone’s and that’s a wonderful part of creativity.