I’m experiencing doubts. About the value of continuing to be creative, as regards the arts and crafts. Somewhat, as regards writing too, but like it or not, writing is something I’m always going to have to do.
(That doesn’t mean it’s ever easy.)
Of course, I know the doubts aren’t true. Arts have a way of guiding or prompting people to consider viewpoints other than their own. And as irritating as it is, I wonder how much of the present-day relative acceptance of gay and lesbian identity in U.S. cities has to do with early 2000’s mass media which presented stories of multifaceted (human) people experiencing homosexuality. (I’m thinking of Glee, by the way.)
I am old enough to remember that episode of Twin Peaks where two female people kissed and…that was the first time same-sex sexuality had been seen on U.S. broadcast television. It was incredibly controversial.
I’m old enough to remember Ellen DeGeneres’s coming out on her show. Again, incredibly controversial. Even though innocuous, as I think most people would see it, today. (Or maybe I’m giving America too much credit.)
Today I’m writing about this because I’m literally wondering why I am a creative person, if I am a creative person, what the worth is of being a creative person, whether to continue to be a creative person.
But I think every creative person who isn’t a constantly-inspired genius (read: pretty much everybody), deals with this.
And I think pretty much every creative person on the Internet has had to deal with people trying to shut them down.
No matter what someone says, someone else is going to have some issue with it. No matter what is made, people are going to judge it and have something to say about it. No one on the Internet is immune from random abusive people trying to make it seem like the abuser’s problem is their problem. Someone’s always going to be offended by something, regardless of the offender’s intent. On top of that, no one knows everything, and creative expression often involves being wrong in some way — of necessity — because if we waited to be experts on everything we imagined in order to increase its “realism,” we would never imagine anything.
I realize I universalized a lot — or all — of that experience (gained from having grown up with a large online component to my socialization), and that itself tells me it may be wrong. It’s why I’m leaving it that way.
Prior to writing this post, I realized that there are a number of words which come to mind about being “out there” as a creator (at least as a creator of ideas), which everyone has to deal with:
- (Destructive) Criticism
Given this, it’s amazing anyone makes anything. Or anything new, perhaps I should specify.
But then maybe it’s like my job, where most people are appreciative and kind, and then there’s a small percentage who are just “off” (and there’s no one way to be “off”). If I concentrated entirely on what to do about (or how to “solve” my relations with) the approximately <2-5% people (though actually, today it has felt more like approximately <1-2%) who either can’t or won’t behave appropriately, there is no way that I would even consider pursuing a front-line career in libraries.
There would also be no way I could work a service job at all…which would shunt me into the 20% of U.S. jobs that were either manufacturing or agriculture (the service sector is said to make up 80% of all U.S. jobs, though I’d have to revisit what I viewed in order to try and understand what they meant by “service”).
But the rewards (including the internal reward of not treating people with bias because of what I may be tempted to assume about them, which actually makes me feel pretty good, given my history) are greater than the annoyances.
And…is the reward of being creative, greater than everything I have to go through, in order to create? I think it is, though I couldn’t easily tell you how. I should probably start a file demonstrating the rewards of creativity, as well as the setbacks. Maybe you all could help contribute.
I have a tendency to focus on the negative, meaning it is going to be harder for me to describe these. The only reason I know that is that I’ve dealt with depression, in the past; and I know that sometimes it is literally not possible to think positive thoughts and (initially) believe them.
What I know is that artists and writers are both, as groups, more tolerant of personal irregularities than the general population. I think it’s because neither group can avoid confronting their own irregularities in the process of creating. Both, as groups, are also familiar with constructive criticism (as versus destructive criticism: criticism designed to destroy the author or artist or craftsperson).
I’m also starting to wonder if we’re just wired differently, but obviously I’m not a neurologist. Trying to read about cognitive function is also not easy. Right now I’m at the beginning of The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice W. Flaherty. It’s reading like a textbook which is also partly creative nonfiction…
But yeah…it’s difficult. I guess how do you describe the actions of the temporal lobes without introducing the overall structure of the brain…
Not to mention, just maintaining a creative practice, is difficult. Right now I don’t have any regular practice time set up to draw or paint. Generally I write at nighttime, before I go to bed. I did come up with an interesting twist to help me out with one of my stories, which helps it feel more legitimate and real…and human. It actually makes one character seem genuinely caring, as versus predatory or parasitic, and it shifts the narrative away from the main emotional problem in the story.
I’ve been going through some culture earthquakes recently, as a follow-up to some relatively recent posts. It’s probably because of my age. But someone I spoke with mentioned that my experience, being surrounded and influenced by so many cultures, as mentioned in backposts, sounded much like…an “American” experience (as versus a fragmented, complex, nameless mix of influences). I’m not quite used to the term “American” not being used as a conservative buzzword, but what they said felt accurate.
And it is odd for me to be called “American” without a qualifier, kind of like I didn’t expect that could be the case, I realize now. But what I’ve been reading about at work…is showing me that in some way, I am culturally American (for instance, in dealing with things like Freedom of Speech, freedom of inquiry, tolerance of dissent, and recognizing the existence of an educated public as essential to democracy).
Maybe what I’m dealing with now, is wondering about the possibility of my intended career, becoming more important than my art or my writing. As versus…just being a Librarian to survive, and having my main drive be my art and/or my writing.
I probably won’t be able to solve that problem, tonight, though.