Does creativity mostly stem from darkness?

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I’m NOT writing anymore, and wondering why this is the case. When I first started this blog in January, I was writing around 3 – 4 blog posts a week. I simply couldn’t stop. I had so much bottled up inside of me that was flowing out – emotions, rage, guilt, regret, sadness. It was like someone had finally turned the tap on inside of me, and years of built up sewerage was spilling out so I channeled it the best way I knew how – through words. Everyone has their own way of expressing their inner thoughts. Some resort to alcohol, drugs and violence, while some turn to creative pursuits – art, dance, music, photography and writing to name a few. I’ve been wondering though, as I’ve noticed a significant decrease in my once torturous feelings of anxiety, why I don’t feel like writing as much anymore, and if anyone else can relate?

When you think about some of the famous artists and creatives of our time, there is usually a back story of hidden pain and secrets as well. Edgar Allen Poe, Vincent van Gogh, Charles Dickens and many others have been documented to have experienced mental health struggles. I can’t help but wonder if in a lot of cases, our most creative works come from a place of sadness and helplessness within? Many of the greatest musicians and song writers have referenced their ‘best sellers’ as having been recorded in some of their darkest times. There seems to be a pretty significant connection between common struggles (depression, anxiety, mood swings, relationship break downs, deaths and so on), where the person works through their feelings via creative expression.

I know for certain that when I’m feeling ‘normal’ – which in my case I would equate with getting through the day with a fairly consistent mood, and not being plagued by frequent periods of anxiety or nervousness, that I don’t particularly feel like writing. In fact I usually have to be experiencing a pretty ‘down’ day to sit down and let the words come pouring out, which is a bittersweet feeling. On the one hand I’m over the moon that my darkness seems to be lifting, but on the other hand I’m sad because I get a lot of enjoyment from writing. What am I meant to write about if I’m feeling normal, or even (dare I say it), happy? That seems like such a silly thing to worry about, I know. I think it’s stemmed from my unhealthy relationship with ‘morbid’ news stories in the media, where for some unknown reason I am drawn to read horrifying stories of murder, kidnapping and tragedies on a regular basis. Of course this is not an uncommon fascination – it has been well documented that as a society these days we are hungry for such stories, and that they both terrify and intrigue us.

I’ll wrap my musings up today with a quote from Jack Beal;

Keep painting your demons. 

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Photo credits – ourcolourdays & ourmoodydays

Embracing your inner artist.

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We were all born with the capacity for creativity, or at the very least with the curiosity to explore art in all its forms. Whether that was through finger painting, play dough, making necklaces from spaghetti tubes or gluing things together, we were all born artists. Over time of course, most of us lose that sense of creativity in pursuit of other interests – academia, sports, relationships, partying. I’ve always been a little envious of the people who made it last somehow – the people who actually made a living from their little hobbies, pursuing their dreams relentlessly.

Now I’m not saying I’m the next Dali just waiting to be discovered – far from it in fact. I do however enjoy dabbling in arts and crafts, for the pure enjoyment of it and opportunity to unleash my inner child. I couldn’t draw anything aesthetically pleasing to save my life, but I did once have a stall at the local market selling necklaces I had beaded together. Looking back they were pretty ugly, but I got a few sales from family friends (bless their cotton socks). Lately I have taken to collecting shells from the beach. Since I’m there a couple of times a week I figured why not? So off I go with my bright yellow fanny pack clipped on, looking like a complete dork as I fossick away along the shore. Now I actually have no idea where this shell project is taking me – am I going to string them up on wire to sway gently in the breeze? Perhaps I’m going to put them in a jar, or glue them to something pretty. I figure that when the time comes, and I have collected enough of a variety – I’ll know what to do. After all it’s about the journey, not the end destination.

I think we all need to pursue these little arts and crafts hobbies, embrace creativity and keep the mind active. After all what is life without a little (or a lot) of enjoyment? We spend so long slaving away at our jobs, why not enjoy the time outside of work bettering ourselves and feeding our curiosity?

This world is but a canvas to our imagination.

(Henry David Thoreau). 

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Photo credits – wolfclubwolfclub & aureta

The volcano in my head.

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I’m dead serious – there’s actually a volcano of thoughts erupting all over my head, and I’ve been frantically trying to channel them into a variety of creative outlets for the past few months.

MUST

EXPRESS

MYSELF.

It’s like this burning itch that I’m constantly scratching, uncovering, exposing. Since quitting a job that had become quite toxic to my life in late November, I’ve literally been unravelling all these thoughts and feelings into whatever I can find – writing, art, photography, reading etc … Don’t get me wrong, it’s WONDERFUL. I’m just wondering where the hell I lost my creative self along the way, and what I’ve been doing for the past few years.

As an only child growing up (until the age of 10 when my sister was born), I was pretty lonely. I didn’t have many neighbourhood friends so had to make do with the imaginations in my mind. I would get lost in fantasy books, travelling to incredible lands and often wishing reality was more… well, magical. I essentially learnt how to be alone, something that’s transcended into all avenues in life. Given the choice of a rowdy night out with friends or a quiet night in cooking and reading by candlelight, 9 times out of 10 I’ll choose the solo affair.

I expressed myself (pretty terribly, in hindsight) through a variety of craft-making activities such as mosaics, water colours and beading. For some unknown reason I went through a phase of super-gluing little shells onto items of my clothing. Why didn’t anyone stop me? Well to be honest I’m glad they didn’t – I obviously needed to express myself somehow, and as long as I wasn’t harming anyone then who cares!?

Somewhere along the way I lost all these creative pursuits, until my recent life overhaul. I went through University, share-housing and meaningless jobs without giving much (if any) time to those activities which I knew brought me great joy. Since taking a step back from the corporate grind I’ve used this blog as a form of self expression, letting all my thoughts and feelings pour out. It’s been cathartic to say the least. I’ve taken up my life-long love of reading again, and have been dabbling in a photo journal of my recent travels. While I definitely won’t be taking up the art of gluing shells on my clothes again, I’m looking forward to the journey ahead and seeing the world in vivid colours once more.

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Photo credits – emiliycornelius1 & ratedmodernart