“What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.”
Creativity is magic. You make up stories out of thin air, who wouldn’t want it? You also get to see connections between things where others see none. Then you try to explain what you’re seeing until you’re blue in the face. When words fail, you pick up colouring pencils and you curse that your drawing skills can’t possibly match the stuff you see in your head with such intense clarity.
Creativity…Who wants it? It’s a curse! It’s also a gift and I think our evolution as a species is living proof that we are all creative. If cavemen didn’t create hunting and defense tools from the materials around them none of us would be here today. We all inherited those creative genes and yet we disown this part of our humanity and we throw the word “creative” onto people we’ve determined to be “weird” and voila we have this current atmosphere of creative people who are outcasts, freaks, mutants, neurodivergent, mentally ill and the non-creative who are your normal, average, every day person.
If creativity were binary I would want to be on the non-creative side and enjoy a “normal” life where my ideas are conventional, acceptable and supported. Unfortunately, convention, as I see it, is a quickly narrowing cage and it is suffocating.
I’ve now experienced life both as a “non-creative” and a “creative” and can say with confidence that with humanity, everything is on a spectrum, be it narcissism, creativity, psychopathy or even gender. Because our brains have neuroplasticity (easily molded into whatever we wish) we are all making the choice to be creative or not.
Way before I outed myself as a “creative” I had an admin job with the DEA. I was a version of Gina from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, doing very little “real work” wasting time on social media and getting great satisfaction out of annoying my coworkers, particularly that Southern Belle, opera-singing Deb, oh Deb. All those fights we got into over nothing at all. Such sweet wasted time.
In those days, there were all these people around me who’d discovered they could sing, dance or paint, or write poetry, you know, all those things that us humans do naturally and have been doing since the dawn of time.
“Surely you can recite some poetry?” they would look at me with surprised expressions when I revealed that I wasn’t aware of any such thing.
“Maybe you can sing a line…” nope, no notes were coming out of my mouth. It was as though my vocal chords were stapled shut. To them I was an alien and I was completely normal. I had a job. They didn’t. How did they get to live? They weren’t making any money from any activities I could comprehend. I always wanted to ask them but they were the majority on these nature hikes I went on and it didn’t even make sense to me how the tour guide was making enough money to live on. They were all too busy singing and dancing to listen to my concerns about their future.
I approached the diving board into my own creativity and would always turn back, too fearful of the drop. I kept doing this until I was 38. A step forward, three steps back. Teachers would approach me, seeing something there inside me that wanted to be expressed. Money was the big block for me. How dare they want my hard earned money? I was a tyre-kicker supreme.
I can’t pay for a course in writing because what will be my return on investment? I would reason myself out of all those courses I wanted to do. There were no guarantees I’d make any money at all from writing or things that interested me like singing, poetry or anything else in the arts category.
Morpheus, Bringer of Dreams
Mortality is a great thing. It helps us realise we have this one life to either live or suffer through. For me to start living, I first had to witness the death of a hero of mine, whose art always made great sense to me. David Bowie died on January 10th 2016 and that was when I committed myself to writing. I started getting up early and getting the words out of myself. I dove in and though stayed on the shallow for a very long time, it was healing.
One by one teachers came into my life. Louisa Deasey set me up with the daily journaling discipline and helped me lay out the hero’s journey structure for my first book “The Wisdom of Gifts” which I will adapt as a screenplay for a Disney style musical for adults.
Then there were the numerous editors who were kind, truthful and cruel to be kind in equal measures who challenged me to think a little better, dig a little deeper, expand my views and serve the story, not my ego, but the story. Story, I found out, is a metaphor for the expansiveness of the ultimate gift we live in, this life.
There was a supporter too. She loved my words and my work and I witnessed her career development and saw her transition into the publishing industry. She gave me hope. Publishing was not dead. People read and will continue to read. My job is to be a good writer to do my job and serve story above all.
Then spiritual assistance came in the form of other women who followed their bliss. On Clubhouse I got a chance to speak up and express myself as a speaker. As I spoke up, I got more inspired to write and as I wrote I had more to speak about. All self-expression feeds each other. The job is to overcome all those anxieties, repressed fears to connect with the gold, the dreams that lie dormant within each and every one of us.
With Melissa’s Playground of Dreams I am now on fire and ready to start a new writing project about all these people who “Live in the Gift”.
I stopped tyre kicking, chose my vehicle (in this case, a book) and am hitting the road. As Melissa would say, desire is my fuel and I’m saying “fuck you” to deadlines.
Death of Deadlines (Viva Lifelines)
Fuck you, deadlines… That’s right. All that accountability and deadline stuff? Maybe that’s for people who aren’t fired up. It is necessary, the good old deadline, when one isn’t in touch with their life force.
As for me, I’m trialing something I call lifelines. These are hot spots on my journey, or inns, or traveler’s lodges where I know I can get support and nourishment (and maybe a warm meal?). The inns I refer to are the people who inspire the hell out of me, who are on fire.
What I’m writing is their stories because ultimately it is hearing people’s stories, the privilege of being the trusted confidant to bear witness to lives, that keeps me fueled up and going.
I can already feel the excitement of handing the finished manuscript to my printer, the very talented Andrew at Forest Print Services.
I can already see myself this Christmas. I’ll be giving copies of my beautifully designed book (by Good Catch Design) as presents to my nearest and dearest in the hopes that it will set hearts ablaze and inspire them to own their creativity, our human birthright.
Over to you…
What were some childhood dreams you’ve had to abandon over the years because the adults around you had to give up on theirs? Do you have a plan or a strategy for bringing them to life? Will you simply let your bliss guide you and stop paying attention to others?