Emotion and Creativity are closely linked in my life. I hate to admit it, I would rather be a disciplined artist who sits at a desk and creates no matter what is happening around them. I thought I was.
When I got serious about writing, in 2019, I got up early every day to write morning pages – Julia Cameron, ‘The Artist’s Way,’ was the catalyst. It was the best thing I have ever done. The inner critic, I had been listening to all my life, was exposed and I learned techniques to ignore or at least quiet that voice.
I was a disciplined artist who wrote every weekday. Practice, practice, practice.
At least I thought I was a disciplined writer. I wrote this blog monthly to share my writing with the world. I did online courses and immersed myself in learning as much as I could. I knew writing, without learning the craft, meant I would keep repeating the same mistakes.
While I was busy getting up early, sitting at my desk doing morning pages and copious writing courses, I felt like I was getting results.
Learning about writing and actually ‘doing the verk’ are two completely different things. How long did I need to spend learning before I knew what I was doing?
2020 brought Covid, and its many lockdowns. I soon realised the connection between my emotions and creativity. The turmoil of emotions Covid introduced made it impossible to ignore. Like everyone I had plenty of time. Instead of using the time to write, I found myself hardly writing at all.
I decided to be kind to myself. If I didn’t manage to write a blog piece every month I wouldn’t beat myself up. My novel writing took a nose dive and I let it rest.
I did a few drawing courses and started working on letting myself play around with art. Nurturing my inner artist.
And of course, more reading.
Time seemed to stand still during Covid. Then when we started re-emerging it was as if it sped up and slid past too quickly. Suddenly it was 2022 and, along with the rest of the world, we took faltering steps back into life as we knew it. It felt so weird being with other people after so long in isolation. It didn’t feel safe.
In June this year, our adult son was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer. Our depleted emotional reserves took a huge hit. We put one foot in front of another and now we are all on the other side of major surgery and months of chemo.
Emotionally swamped, I couldn’t bring myself to write more than a few words in my bullet journal to keep track of the days. I found it hard to concentrate on courses and podcasts and even reading was hard.
So much for the disciplined artist I thought I was.
I drew a lot. Cartoon characters, mandalas, zentangles, anything that would absorb my mind and keep me from imagining the future. I desperately needed to stay in the moment.
I am pleased to say our son finished his brutal treatments, in early October, and is mending well with an excellent prognosis.
In the last week of October, my husband went to a work expo, his first since the world shut down and came home with Covid. A few days later I caught it and infected everyone at my granddaughter’s birthday party.
Our daughter and her girls were staying with us for the weekend. They live in NSW and we hadn’t seen them since May. She told us they were moving, even further away, at the end of the month. Before I had time to wonder how I felt, Covid took over my world.
Today is the first day, since we got sick, that either of us have felt relatively normal. I still break out in a sweat if I do too much, like hanging out the washing, and I still cough all night, but we survived where others didn’t.
I have written half a dozen blogs and deleted them. My foggy brain wasn’t working and my emotions kept clamouring for attention.
‘Process me, feel me,’ they cry.
My emotions may be more closely linked to my creativity than I would like, but they are not in charge. Yesterday I made a watercolour Christmas card and today I wrote this. Who knows what I will do tomorrow.
There is a sacred space where art lives.
Where stories and characters appear out of thin air,
as if by magic.
A few pen strokes and a scribbled picture becomes a person,
A few words and a whole world appears.
Time exist differently where art lives, it slips and slides and elongates.
Fragile yet strong beyond measure.
It is in this place that I love to spend moments of my life.
I bring my emotions to this place and they find a home.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I appreciate it more than you could ever know.