Sunday, July 23, 2006
Balancing The (Creative) Diet
In a comment on this blog on Friday, Margaret reflects on the downtime we all have as artists. I was out with a friend on Thursday at an art exhibition. She asked if I didn't experience something 'like writer's block' from time to time, and then promptly apologised for asking the 'wrong' question when I didn't answer all at once. The truth is, that there are no wrong questions, and I don't believe in block, whether for writers or artists or anyone. The world is full of opportunity, of clues, hints and suggestions that we can take up...or not... I think, myself, that when we commit ourselves to working as artists, that we assume that that's all there is to it...that we'll just happily work on for ever, and all will be well with the world. And that's exactly it. I think we do. But who said we had to be permanently creating? The physical act of creation is important, but it's not the only part of the process.
Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I have a passion for chocolate. Swiss, in particular, but any chocolate will do (providing it doesn't have nuts in it...though marzipan is splendid...). But I don't eat it exclusively, and wouldn't, even if I could, despite believing that it is a major food group all by itself! There are days when only cherries will do, or crispy salads, chicken, salmon... the world offers a banquet of tastes and textures. Similarly, in the creative life, we have times for reflection and renewal, or even just plain rest, to complement the active parts of the work, the planning and making. So I enjoy all the different parts of the cycle, knowing that none of them last for ever, and all of them are good for me. Even the Christian God took a rest on Sunday after completing what might be considered the ultimate act of creation, the making of the world. I can't think of any creation myths that don't have a bit of rest in there, sometime... Call it a block, and it becomes a problem, a black hole we get stuck in. Call it part of the creative cycle, and it becomes creative chocolate... good to nibble on, a surprise, a treat, but not the whole of the diet.
There are, of course, moments when one's creative path is disrupted...hence the picture. I know the saying, 'A cat can look at a king', so I dare say that Milly is perfectly in her rights to sit on Nefertiti, and attempt to stare her down...but it does rather Hold Things Up...