Backstory: Sometime between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, my creativity went out for cigarettes and never came back. I didn’t even know she smoked. Because I think of creativity as a way to solve problems, write, laugh, enjoy life, and create, I don’t know how to deal with myself. So I’m posting on what I’m doing to bring my creative mojo back.
Even my gratitude journal isn’t working. That was pretty scary for me. But I said I’d report on what I was doing, so here it is:
- I packed away all of my half-filled, work-in-progress journals. No sense in allowing emptiness to lay a guilt trip on me.
- I put an old experimental journal on my art table. In case the urge to do something strikes. Should creativity sneak in the back door and wake me with her boozy breath, the last thing I want to do is hunt for paper, pens, colored pencils. The journal has excellent paper for whatever I want to do, but it’s an experimental journal. Lots of messy bits in it, but nothing I’d look at and say, “Wow, I was really good!” That’s the slap of shame I don’t need right now.
- I write down three things that worked. Every day. As a reminder that my whole life is not a giant sink hole sucking away my soul. Here are a few samples:
- Got fob out of purse without fumbling; unlocked elevator successfully.
- Got the cat to the vet on time for his appointment
- Got all the grocery bags into the house in one trip
- Remembered to buy the thing I forgot to put on the grocery list
- Carried a 15-pound bag of kitty litter on my head and down one flight of stairs
Yes, clearly no one is waking up the Nobel committee for these accomplishments. No need. When I read through some of them, I laugh. Laughing is actually helpful; it makes me feel like I deserve to live. Also, an accomplishment is a step in the right direction. No one said it had to be a big step. It just has to show intentional movement.
Also, I’m competitive. Pretty soon I’ll try to out-do myself and maybe. . . . No. Stop. Just three things that worked. Every day.
4. I bought some art supplies I’ve never tried before. Steering clear of supplies for art techniques I’m good at is a protective decision. I’m out of practice and will have to start over. I’ll compare. And lose. So I purchased a small mix of Caran D’Ache Neocolor crayon pastels. This isn’t a great time to splurge, but the price was reasonable. And maybe, taking a new product for a test run may spark some interest. They aren’t here yet. I’m relieved.
That’s it. If you were hoping for a resolution by the third article, it didn’t happen. I’m still OK with not being OK. You have to sit through misery until it becomes your companion and you lose the urge to fight, run, self-medicate. Then, just when you are thinking of cheating on creativity with your misery, the misery will go out for cigarettes and vanish. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.
––Quinn McDonald is turning existential dread into farce. Because real life doesn’t have as many hand grips as she needs to keep steady.