On Creation and Inspiration

A strange thought came to me while perusing Pinterest. Scrolling through post after post of creations from crafts to photographs to desserts, it struck me. It has been quite some time since I have had the inspiration and motivation to create. I can easily recall a time in my life when this was not the case.

As a kid I was always in the midst of some scheme I had concocted, in the throws of a project I was trying to figure out, or ruminating on how to make something, anything. When this drive went missing I’m not exactly sure. Maybe it was swallowed by other commitments that seemed more important at the time. Homework, research, second guessing, a new social life, the distractions of ever encroaching technology, a slow development of apathy that began as a teenager could all be culprits.

Sure I have created things since childhood, but that excitement and joy at the beginning stages of creation seems all but lost. My creations seem more out of a sense of duty, lacking any true inspiration, the desire and love that comes with fulfilling that image in your head. These images in my head would plague me when I was young. Creating art was a place where my stubborn personality was an asset, rather than a frustration for everyone around me. I would fixate on an image in my mind and feel utterly consumed with making the vision materialize. I would become frustrated, angry, and upset when this image wasn’t exactly as I envisioned. I had little patience with myself either. Parts of this frustration resurface when I draw to this day. However, it has morphed and become layered.

Now the problem isn’t only that my creation is not measuring up to the image I have in my mind, but that there is no image to critique it against. There is a complete lack of visualization. To write this down is suddenly scary. Where did all those visualizations go? Are they still there but perhaps more complex than I once imagined? The visuals may not be as simple as they were when I was young. Instead of visualizing some cute little animal as a detailed but static image (as I vividly remember doing while sitting in the bathtub as a child), now I think of ideas: desire, experience, perception, misunderstandings, friendship, relationship, peace, comfort, belonging. These abstractions are no longer easily depicted. Maybe that comes with the development of your mind.

How do I get back that spark of creativity when the images don’t present themselves to me anymore? I wonder if they are really gone forever and that spark and excitement of creation is lost once one crosses the threshold into adolescence. Perhaps that innocent but driving creative force becomes muted. I hope this is not the case entirely because it sure would be nice to experience it again. The feeling of being lost for hours on end in creation is not forgotten, but like being lead around with a blindfold on I’m not sure how to get back to where it began.

Do you still have that spark of creation? Where do you think it comes from?

Week Four.

Photo Four.

Observations: This past week was quite interesting to say the least. Not that anything physically revolutionary occurred or any major life even took place, but several much needed steps in what I see as a psychological development have occurred in a steady stream. I feel like I’m falling into myself. Not so long ago I thought the idea of finding one’s self was a strange concept, particularly because I lived under the assumption that most people created who they became in life. While I don’t think the idea of shaping yourself in some ways is entirely off the mark, as of late I am beginning to discover that maybe your “self” is something that has been there all along. Maybe life is an uncovering instead of an inventing or creating. Maybe the creative process is the way in which we peel back the layers of fear and misunderstanding and illusion. And oh how beautifully this ties into this weekend’s antique shopping excursion.

My sister and I ventured to Highland Antiques on North Highland this past Saturday to look for a piece of furniture. To our surprise the shop opened up to a sprawling basement beneath the cramped yet carefully displayed high-priced items in the small boutique upstairs. Now the basement was more our style, wandering through corridors cast in hideous fluorescent lighting only highlighting the already glowing early seventies burnt oranges and putrid greens. This is what antique shoppers are drawn to: uncovering treasure from a pile of what appears to be junk. There is something quite beautiful and comforting about those hodge-podge pieces strewn throughout the unfinished basement lot. Perhaps a mingling of nostalgia from my own childhood growing up in a flea market under my nana’s watch and that of an era of which I don’t know but find its relics immensely fascinating to observe. An uncovering of people and places that have past. There is something within me, and others searching through those piles of historic junk, that is searching for the piece that tells a story, a piece that has something to say because its been around the block a few times. We are hoping to uncover something that has been there all along that will become part of our story, still in the making. We are looking for something new and not new at all.