Sunday, March 13, 2011

Creative Process Stunned ?

Tumultuous times have a direct impact on my sense of purpose in writing.  There doesn't have to be any actual interruption in my personal daily life...tragedy has such a long arm in our small world.

 I have a drawer full of fiction, chapters that I've put tremendous work and heart into, that I haven't worked on since September 11, 2001.  Fiction seemed a small voice in the  aftermath days, and yet the subjects my characters faced were, albeit set in a different era, the same; clashing beliefs and cultures, losses in war, and love's journey through despair to hope.

 I thought I would eventually pick things up and write on, and I may have, but health threats to my own life, healing time and then a new job that required moving and a new life style continued what I hope is only a hiatus.

While I work full time, and writing has to dance around both the duties and joys of daily life, I have been, in private journals and these two blogs that I have been scribbling, warming up to committing more time and energy to the life I find in writing and the giving to others it represents.

This week I recognized a familiar sense of chill deep inside myself as I watched the news reels of the devastation that shook, flooded and  burned the island country of Japan which now struggles with the specter of possible  nuclear power plant meltdowns.

I cannot dig through the rubble, or fly helicopters.  My heart flies out though and then the creative processes get a busy signal.  Yesterday I did some simple hand work, repairing some small cloth items.  The calming effect was powerful.  I was searching for that insulation that allows all that is to be acknowledged, no ignoring the great external heats of various dangers in the world, while  keeping kindled a proactive awareness  that while it is yet called today, I should do what I can in all the realms that speak purpose to me, despite the multiple dwarfing effects of events across the wide world.  Yes, the axis of the earth has shifted yet again, but we must each keep our footing and press on.

As I sat here, typing up these little thoughts, just outside my window on the path into the forest, I heard a sharp crack and looked out to see a limb crashing down.  It is just a small limb, but it fell perhaps 60 feet with little warning.  One sharp crack and it crashed right where I walk  from one house to the other.  How glad I am that I was taking these few quiet moments to ponder what I allow to deter me from spending more time writing.


Mark said...

I experience the same "yellow flag" effect, but my response to it involves a redoubled effort to bring the creative drive to task in contemplation of or service to the dilemmas and issues posed by tumult. An awareness of how large events can sweep away all in their path frees my mind from lesser concerns, or puts them in a better perspective and context, helping me feel alive in the larger moment, from which I may be able to have a "larger", more resonant response. That's what I hope to bring to the creative drive that remains frustrated, yet irrepressible in tumultuous times.

Sarah Beth said...

Glad you decided to take some time to write! :)

John said...

I think we humans fall into two classes. Those who exist and those to need to do more than just exist. The first have sacrificed themselves to addiction, or inner demons, the latter need to use their talent, to exercise their abilities, to give to others, to create.

The events of the world unfold around us, beyond our individual control. If we allow those events to take away our desires and our heart we lose an important part of ourselves.

Works unfinished are always there and there will always be work unfinished to nag at us. This is the way of life. The best we can do is fill our days with work that matches our purpose. From what I've seen you have been true to yourself, can anyone ask for more?

We each must come to grips with our mortality and what lays beyond. When my friends were killed I grieved and sought understanding of why one individual could survive when the rest of the crew were killed. I was comforted by Matthew 10:29.

MKM said...

Thank you for writing this. I've been thinking about this general topic quite a bit.

I remember I started a journal on September 11th. But I think that's because I really had no concept of what had just happened, and felt the need to process it, and "participate" in some way.

The last month, with the situation in the Middle East deteriorating and now Japan in devastation, I have found myself increasingly on edge and discontent with my own adrenaline-free life... and lackluster about academic or administrative pursuits that feel unimportant in the face of the news I take in.

To think I feel so useless despite my academic and career focus on just these sorts of world issues is crushingly frustrating.

I suppose what these events are affecting could be deemed my "creative process" as well - my creative efforts are generally confined to academic papers and creative thinking about economics.

Tania Pryputniewicz said...


Love the phrase, "my heart flies out..." that's what happens for me on a cellular level, I sense. And the events enter my night dreams, and those of my children--my son came into the kitchen with tsunami imagery, a high rise building, etc., without tv in the home, we didn't watch live coverage, yet the imagery pervades.

Feels like a privilege to write at all in the wake of so much. And I have to work to feel any words are worthy (re reading an intro to Rilke, and the line of Adorno's: "It is barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz").

But maybe, as you suggest, we tend to the group soul in grounding. I bought blue yarn at Legacy, have the urge to knit. If I can find the knitting needles...