There is something about the creative temperment that rivals most forms of mental instability. I hate to admit it, but it’s beginning to seem to me to be the truth.
There are the highs and lows of a manic personality that accompany the excitement and tension of the creative process. It can carry you for hours, days or merely a few moments. The accompanying downside is the all too frequent depression that tags along behind as the inspiration begins to wane and you have to address the lack of vision that seems to be clouding the days and nights that go without producing anything of merit.
A person is or is not an artist, musician or writer. I believe you can learn to do many things, but the inherent gift of being something is not a learned or easily acquired part of life. Sometimes it looks as though it comes easily when the work flows out of a person, but what it takes to walk through all of the peripheral angst and upheaval is grueling.
I don’t mean to imply that all artistic types have to live a life full of drama. Many artists have very happy, fulfilling lives filled with family and friends and happy works of art. But still…there are always those moments of self-doubt that keep us coming back to the canvas (or whatever it is we need for our particular art) and staring into something completely blank. It is in that moment of blankness, utter emptiness and lack, that we must come to grips with the possibility that there is nothing more coming through us.
It usually passes and something brilliant appears on the creative horizon, but that lapse of vision is a scary thing. Frustration isn’t a strong enough word to describe how empty it feels to have nothing worth expressing, nothing to say to the world. We all want to influence someone, and for some of us, our art is that vehicle by which we let our ideas travel. If the highway takes a wrong turn, we get dumped into a desert of ill conceived imagery, or worse, a blank vista. Death Valley is more inviting.
So, if you are the artist, my empthy is with you. I’ve stared at many empty canvases. I’ve dared my fingers to start moving across ivory keys, hoping for something beautiful to emerge. And sometimes, I sit here at this computer and have nothing to say.
I think there should be a new AA…Artists Anonymous. Sometimes we need help too.