Friday, October 2, 2009

Our Artful Species



Sandy MoreDoh said, Do you give lectures on how to get your creative energy back?

Oh yeah. I'll give a lecture on anything at a moment's notice whether I know what I'm talking about or not. Be very careful what you ask for!

I believe everyone has bucketsful of creative energy. The popularity of books like The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron (she has a website, too) would seem to contradict my theory, but her book, which is excellent, seems to me to be more about learning how to loosen up, how to let go of self-consciousness, than about finding some allegedly "lost" creativity.

Some people simply can't see or recognize their own creativity. To those folks I suggest that they take the time to remember their dreams. What could be more artfully imaginative? Sometimes all you have to do is notice that you're already creative.

For some it's a matter of perfectionism. Yes there will always be someone who is better at painting or dancing or cooking, but you should never let that stop you from doing your own thing. Go ahead and make fun of my singing; I will sing anyway. It is my birthright! Not the singing specifically, but my right to express myself creatively. (Earplugs can be a good solution for the squeamish when I'm in a singing mood. Sometimes even I feel like wearing them. Yet I sing on. Why not?)

Other people don't give themselves any time for creative expression. That's why Cameron's three morning pages is such a great exercise. If you're really too busy to express yourself creatively, something about your life has gone terribly wrong. Why aren't you singing in the shower, making up songs on your drive to work? Creating playlists for your ipod for the commute? Your choice of clothing, hairstyle, make-up can all be outlets for your inner artist and any job - every job - can provide opportunities for creativity. Believe me! Though time is sometimes a deciding factor, I think more often, restricted creative expression is usually about not noticing or self consciousness than a matter of time.

Blogging brings out the creative energy in a truly democratic way. Blogs with themes, blogs without themes, with or without illustrations or photos, anonymous or not - blogging is creative open territory where we each set our own boundaries (sometimes the hard way) and share our lives, views and opinions, drawings, recipes, and photos with each other. All together we create an artists' community unlike any that has existed until now.

Sandy, just let 'er rip, write whatever you want - here in the comments section, on your own blog (if you have one), around the borders of your grocery shopping list. Switch on the music and dance around, go get The Artist's Way. Your creative energy is right there, just waiting to be accessed, or noticed. You go girl. Oh yeah.

28 comments:

mouse (aka kimy) said...

yeah, you go girl!!

oh, am looking forward to hearing the stew for 5) (!!!!!) went....that's a lot of chopping!

Reya Mellicker said...

Today my thumb was sore. For awhile I wondered what had happened, but then I realized OMG that's from peeling all those vegetables. It was like being on K.P. duty, except fun.

The party was a big success and everyone loved the stew. Many had seconds and even third servings. I love feeding people. Oh yeah!

Joanne said...

Reya you rock! What an inspirational post. Sometimes knowledge motivates creativity too. I just came back from my Social History of Rock & Roll class and am so tuned in to the music right now, and the reasons BEHIND the creativity. It's nice to look at it from that angle.

ellen abbott said...

I also believe everyone has a talent. Not necessarily in the arts, but talent makes anything an art.

Children should always be encouraged to express them selves artistically and given access to materials. However, there is a certain point in kid's lives when they decide whether or not they can draw/paint/sculpt/whatever. Once they decide they can't, for whatever the reason, there is no convincing them otherwise and they abandon all attempts. I saw it happen with my daughter. She put her energies, her talent, elsewhere.

Reya Mellicker said...

Joanne I love studying and learning. Knowledge gives depth and context to everything. You're so cool!

Reya Mellicker said...

talent makes anything an art.

Wow. That's interesting. Talent as a doorway for creative expression. That's cool, Ellen.

The Bug said...

Wow - you sound like Dr. M - don't ask him a history question if you don't want a dissertation :)

I've been in a period of not feeling very creative - in my job or in my home life. My blog is my only outlet right now. I used to make cards for everyone in my family. Once we got moved & I got a "craft room" I thought I'd jump right in - & I made 8 cards. But then I had shoulder surgery & just stopped again.

You've inspired me! It's a matter of making time - once I start it just flows.

Reya Mellicker said...

Pain is very exhausting. It's hard to do anything except take the time to heal after a big injury like that. It'll come around again.

Barbara Martin said...

Reya, you provide such wonderful enthusiasm for all your visitors. Glad to hear the stew was a success.

steven said...

reya - nice post!!! i'm right with you there - everyone has the capacity for creative expression! it's one of my little jobs when i teach to ask kids who say "i'm not an artist" or "i'm not a musician" or "i'm not an actor", "who told you that?
'cause i see walking down a street as pure art. the sound of a stone skipping across a pond as pure music, asking someone a favour - pure theatre!!!
what's challenging is drawing creative energy to the level of craft. that's where you need to develop a develop a discipline to refine your availability to the creative force.
big ideas at the end of the week huh?!
sweet friday night in dc reya!!! steven

Mary Ellen said...

Thanks for the lucid reminder - and thanks for sharing your creativity and gladness.

Ronda Laveen said...

Your first paragraph had me craking up through the entire post. That was very creative in and of itself.

There are no limits on how to be creative. Seeing your pumpkin picture made me think of all the amazing pumpkins I've carved. Sometimes I let the toast get very dark and scrape an image or a saying. Like--I love you or Happy Birthday or Goodbye.

Oh, Oh...I made an interesting bridal shower sculpture once out of vegetables that was quite erotic and brought the house down with laughter. Creativity doesn't have to be expensive or intricate...sometimes the simplest things give such full expression.

lakeviewer said...

...and sorround yourself with nature, taking time to watch life unfold in front of you...........

Phoenix said...

Reading your post made me feel it was particularly directed at me.. of course I know it wasn't :) ... nevertheless, Cameron's book seems to be a good idea. I definitely need to loosen up. Creativity... whenever I have indeed loosened up to attempt giving expression to whatever creativity I might have, I have felt light, relieved and happy... in some strange, queer manner, it has helped me explore my own inside.. get to know myself better.. there is a lot to know there .. thanks for an absolutely brilliant and inspiring post!

Tom said...

Seems like the tv and computer have supplied all the creativity...if you're willing to sit and let some else do all your thinking for you...

I kind of thought the internet was big wash, until i got into this blogging thing...a fun and easy way to release your creativity! Good insights, Reya.

Coffee Messiah said...

I continue to tell myself to be like a kid, and just do it and believe that is part of our problem in feeling insecure or in comparing what we do with others.

Also, since schools, especially the early years have strayed away from creative classes (er, sports though continues on) I certainly understand how some youth might feel like they aren't creative since most the time is spent in not being creative.

Just my hunch. Cheers 2 U!

lettuce said...

haha, your comment on lecturing made me smile.

i like listening to you
and agree with this one so much

Elizabeth said...

Book recommendation from ages ago but worth it for anyone whose creative energy needs a boost or who felt squished by mean teachers etc.

BRENDA UELAND'S IF YOU WANT TO WRITE

written in the 20's or thirties she is BOLD AND BRISK AND WONDERFULLY ENCOURAGING

AS IN "EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING IMPORTANT AND INTERESTING TO SAY

much love

John Hayes said...

So well said--I completely agree that the "perfectionism" part is a hindrance to many!

Peaches said...

You are spot on, Reya. You make me want to get up and dance. So renewing...you are a true healer...heart, body, and creative soul.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ronda I LOVE your toast art. How cool. I must try that.

And yes Steven you're right about craft. The paradox is to loosen up but maintain a discipline around practice.

I had a drawing teacher who, on the first day of class, asked us all to open our brand new packages of charcoal. We did. Then he said, "OK, now drop the charcoal on the floor." We all hesitated, of course.

He said, "As long as your charcoal is pristine and perfect, you will hesitate to draw. When it's broken into pieces, it'll be easier for you." And so we did.

He believed that creativity is a messy workplace. I am inclined to agree with that, also with his supposition that every drawing, no matter what - landscape, still life, abstract - is always a self portrait. Great teacher. Oh yeah.

karen said...

I love it when you get in a "lecturing" mood! Been enjoying the catch up. Thanks for the lovely post on Remembrance, in particular!

Steve said...

Absolutely! We're all creative in the way we live every day, whether we mean to be or not. As you said, sometimes we just don't see it!

Tessa said...

Knowledge is power and you have that in abundance, Reya. Sage advice for Sandy. (And I must remember to sing in the shower more often, too.)

Sorry 'bout your sore thumb, but it's hardly surprising after your marathon culinary efforts. Well done you, girl, and I'll bet it was DELISH!

Reya Mellicker said...

The stew turned out very well. It's not the most exciting dinner I've ever made, but hearty and nourishing, yes.

madtexter said...

Reya,

Your pictures are art. You've inspired me. I'm gonna take some time tomorrow during the slow Sunday afternoon and snaps some pix of my hood in Inman Park, Atlanta. I think you'll like them.

Washington Cube said...

Rob Brezny the astrologer is big on keeping open to things. He's always got little good creative tips floating out there, even if it's "eat a pear ...but paint it first."

I read a lot about creativity...the muse and the flow between creator and viewer in their experience.

...and lil Miz Reya...out there walking and just absorbin'...like a lil ole sponge.

Karen said...

I second your rec. of Cameron's book, and I recommend morning pages highly! I've done them on & off for a few years, and when they're on, I always feel like things flow a lot more easily. It means getting up even earlier (yikes), but it's worth it.

And, about letting go of perfectionism: YUP. I was at a fiber festival recently & saw a sign that said something like "Living an artful life means letting go of the fear of making mistakes." That one really spoke to me! (I wish I had written down the wording exactly. But maybe I am letting go of my perfectionism by embracing my inexact memory of it. :) )