In a conversation with my friend Arie, who is about to receive her Masters in Clinical Social Work, she brought up something really interesting when I told her I was in a bit of a funk. She mentioned that perhaps tapping into more creative pursuits, like this blog, could be making me feel different. Not bad, not wrong, but just different. Why this struck me as a very distinct possibility is because in the past when I’ve written (my favorite creative pursuit), I don’t ever recall feeling happy in doing so.
Let me explain. Writing has made me feel self-connected, fulfilled, and introspective. It’s a worthwhile pursuit. Much of my writing has always been predominately autobiographical, so it’s hard to escape the hard truths, weaknesses, and fears that are inevitably part of my psyche. I do wonder if activating this creative part of my psyche is connecting me to the these things on a more surface level lately. Unearthed, really, like a a bunch of worms under a flagstone. These worms, if given too much attention, can impede anyone in living their life functionally and with contentment.
I think about extreme cases of creative geniuses that solely and intently pursued their art in whatever form, but also suffered greatly for it or at least in part, because of it. Vincent Van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Francesca Woodman, Kurt Cobain. Granted, I’m not trying to cut my ear off nor do I suggest I’m even an nth degree of talent that these greats are, but they serve my point. Getting too lost in the creative process can make you lose their balance. It can prompt you to take everything perhaps too seriously, especially your own “inner” life, which is a step away from reality.
It’s possible, this has been an element to my funk. Having a friend like Arie that has a deep understanding and interest in the way the human mind works as well as a genuine caring nature, is pure luck. I think she could be absolutely right about this. And she didn’t charge me for a session, bless her heart!
So how do we know when to take a step back? I guess it’s a bit trial and error. I had let my creative writing efforts lapse for probably five years and now suddenly, I’m delving into it. Not fully yet, though I am starting to feel the stirrings of wanting to work on some short stories. It’s exciting, but I guess the lesson here is not to worry about how good they will be, if I can get them published, and if they will reveal too much of my ugly.
Does the creative process enable one to drown in sorrows or fears? Is that a bad thing? I’m back to the same questions and I suppose that not having a definitive answer is just the cold, hard fact. It won’t stop me from writing though. In a weird way, unearthing the worms is kind of exciting. It’s exciting to feel and feel deeply, even if it isn’t pure happiness.
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