It’s ironic, to me, that I’ve written and shared over eighty posts on this website., yet, for all that effort I fail to see it as being “creative”. Each post, whether it flows without conscious planning, or develops while struggling to find each word, takes effort. Each sentence, each paragraph, is structured and rewritten, many times, until I find the form that best expresses what I hope to say. Then I look for that certain image that can, I hope, complement the content of the blog. I do all this, but still, I don’t see “creativity” in it.
It speaks to the larger issue of struggling to be creative that I’ve been facing for some years (perhaps decades). Simple things like colouring, sketching, and painting, are all difficult for me.
To a large extent, creative writing was surrendered to professional writing. There, specific words and grammar required a precision that wasn’t creative. It was dictated by the demands of the document being drafted. Failure to comply with professional “norms” in the choice of expression or punctuation could create unforeseen issues best left avoided.
This surrender of creativity extended to other facets of my life. I stopped writing poetry. I stopped drawing. In more recent years, I stopped painting or engaging in other crafts. This despite knowledge of the benefits creativity would bring, especially the pleasure I received.
Some of this loss is attributable to my medications. They have dulled that element of self-expression. Not eradicated. Just dulled.
More of that loss is attributable to a fear that I held, that experiencing joy would lead to hypomania. Recently I engaged in a therapy that helped to reduce this fear as the therapy enabled me to discern a difference between hypomania and joy. With discernment, I grew to trust in myself.
Over the years there’ve been glimpses of creativity, moments when creative expression has been enjoyed. Consider this example from around 2015:
I received a text message from my son which led to an unexpected diversion. He sent: I have a project for you. I’m making a poetry anthology in English class and I’m supposed to include 4 poems from other people, whether it be from online or from someone I know. I was wondering you and your great grasp of the English language could right a poem for me. The theme is cities if you’re interested.
Now I first had to put aside any desire to correct my son’s grammar (it being a text message, I made an allowance). Then I had to chuckle at the thought that his assignment meant a “project for [me]”. Smiling, I took about ten seconds or so and, using my “great grasp of the English language”, I concocted this little gem:
Not a literary classic by any means, but its silliness brought a smile to my face when I wrote it. To be honest, it still does. I love the whimsy.
That whimsy is shown in some of my art like this piece of what I call scribble art:
Sadly, it’s been a long time, too long a time, since that whimsy has found a voice.
To remedy this, I elected to join some courses offered by CMHA Durham’s Recovery College Wellness Centre. The courses I selected are all targeted at kick-starting whimsy and, by extension, creativity. Similarly, I joined a writing group on Meetup (and I’m looking to join others) to that same end.
It’s early days yet, but the after-effects of the therapy, the increased trust in myself, plus looking for ways to encourage whimsy in myself, are all starting to get creative juices flowing once again. Art supplies have been dug out and ideas have taken root.
I may not yet be the creative person I hope to become, but I’m actively working to allow that to happen. Whimsy, creativity, will find me once again.