Living a Creative Life
"Putting our voice out into the world isn't for others, not really--it is only for ourselves, ultimately. If it touches someone else, if it changes their life or angers or buoys them, that's not yours to own. Yours is to write, to paint, and to keep on doing that, saying what you long to say." (Digh 9)
I stumbled upon the book Creative is a Verb: If You're Alive You're Creative by Patti Digh (http://www.37days.com/) and couldn't resist buying it.
Well, I could resist, but the short debate of my inner gremlins and critics went something like this:
Cost-crunching gremlin, "You don't need this book. You shouldn't spend the money, at least not on yourself. You don't deserve it."
Inner Critic, "She NEEDS this book. she claims to be an artist. She thinks she's a writer, but she can't really be unless she is a complete SUCCESS! maybe if she buys it she will learn how to make some money and then you can just be quiet."
Inner rationalist, "She is an artist. She does theater and she teaches it. She writes. She sometimes even paints. Isn't that art?"
Inner Critic, "Those who can, do. Those who can't TEACH." (That inner critic really knows how to get to me, I hate that mentality.)
Heart Song, "I think she should get the book. It speaks to her. She is an artist, but she needs to learn to believe that she is one. That's the only way she will get you [glares at the Inner Critic] to back off and be quiet."
My Heart Song won.
Seriously, the book spoke to me at a moment when I had just declared out loud and to myself that I've had a shift in my own thinking. On the two hour drive we took to celebrate our anniversary with some actual ethnic food (hard to find where we live) I told him that I am okay with not having a title or a famous name or even a regular contract. I actually like the freelance/adjunct lifestyle, where I get to teach classes when I want to, and do projects that I am passionate about. Of course, I would love to make a little more money at this, but I'm okay without the full-time commitment to one employer. I have a full-time commitment to myself, my inner artist and my family. That seems pretty fulfilling.
So then I see this book and it feels like another little sign from the universe. I think, "Wow! Yeah. What if simply living is being creative. Maybe I already am the artist I want to be."
I started reading, and found something on each page I've read so far that resonates with me. The book even starts with a poem by Osho:
When I say be creative,
I don't mean
you should all go
and become great painters
and great poets.
I simply mean
let your life
be a painting,
let your life
be a poem.
I recognize that I have too often been ruled by my Inner Critic. She's very loud and difficult. She's the one constantly saying, "You can't really be a writer unless you get published by somebody else. At least you have to get paid."
But I've already proven her wrong. I am a writer because I write. This blog has given me a slightly larger audience, and that is a wonderful feeling. I'm becoming even more prolific, especially after committing to the Postaday2011. I have a feeling that some days I may overwhelm people with the number of posts.
I still dream of publishing the book and writing more books, but I can accept that I am a writer because I write.
There will always be a part of me that wants to make an actual living by writing. Then I remember I am, sort of, because I am teaching Composition classes.
Back to that gem of a saying "Those who can, do. Those who can't teach." Teaching itself is an act of creativity. I know wonderful artists who have discovered a love of teaching. They teach because they want to share their passion for the world and for the arts with others. This does not mean they are not doing their art as well. Of course, time management becomes more of a challenge, but for the most part these people live and love even more passionately through art.
I also know several people who claim to be ARTISTS who would never teach. Perhaps they would never teach because they would fail at that area. They know how to make art (and often I find their work uninspiring or egotistical) but they do not have the skills to share that inspiration with others beyond the esoteric deliverance in whatever art form they chose.
Those who can both do and teach!
I am an artist. I am a writer. But most importantly, I am going to live my life as creatively as possible. I need to put my voice out there, in whatever form it takes. If my voice is heard, that will be wonderful. If not, that too will be wonderful, because I am listening to my Heart Song and living my life.
What do you think? What role does creativity play in your life? What role would you like it to play?