I wish I had Elizabeth Gilbert's problem. Honestly.
That said, I found her concept of the externalization of the muse as a construct who helps the artist continue creating–deeply thought provoking. Days later, I'm still mulling.
I'm a spiritual person with a relationship with God as I understand Him, and there have been times when I felt like I was “channeling” something divine, finger plugged into a light socket, the “flow” Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi speaks of coming through me. I race beside to catch it before it moves on. (Ruth Stone is mentioned in the video chasing a poem. That rang so true tears came to my eyes.)
Other times the work, whether it's painting, writing, glass beadmaking, jewelry design, dance or writing–is just work. Hard work, oft repeated, done of out of dogged determination and humility. Here I am. Use me. Please.
I'm waiting for the current. Waiting for the breath of God to animate me. Waiting for the muse, the djinn, the magick to come and make something new through me. It usually does. And there's nothing more amazing than that feeling. It's addicting. It's eternity in a moment.
But it's fleeting, and only sometimes, and the cost is high. High in expectations, and rejections, and emotional risk, and in misunderstandings from others.
Oh, and it usually doesn't pay well.
I'm a mental health therapist. I might have become one to overcome some of the stereotypes about The Crazy Artist. I think I really became one though, because I'm so fascinated with people and their stories, what makes them tick. I'm a student of human nature-endlessly curious. Early pictures of me have a theme-my diapered hind end as I squat to investigate something. I'm investigating Creativity all the time.
Investigating and managing the emotional and financial risks. Saying to my husband, an amazing artist, OLE! and Amen. Saying to myself as I write, and write on, and get ready to get the writing out there (finally) with all the attendant terror–good for me, for trying.
That's my job. I show up at the page. I hope the muse will visit me. And if not, I create on anyway.
Please watch this video. If you aren't an artist, watch it so you can encourage those in your life who are. (though I believe we're all creators of something. It's how we're created in God's image.)
Tell me how this is for you. I really do want to know.