Hard as it is to admit, I have done nothing experimental or creative since January 20, 2017, the day of the inauguration. This is not a political post, however. This is a creative energy post.
My creative energy vanished. Instead, I pore over newspapers and news sites. I’m anxious. Reading news amps up the anxiety, not reading it seems dangerous. I can’t concentrate on my creative work.
It’s not about control; it’s about trying to understand politics, history, world views, and, at the root of it all, creativity.
My art desk. Sitting at it, motionless. A question arises–what do I do next? What technique is the best? Would it be good to use that color or this one? I have no answers. I don’t want to try anything new. Or old. Ideas flew out the window and have not returned.
Surprisingly, I can do business work. I’ve updated workbooks, started thinking about new book topics to teach, even discussed teaching a course with a colleague. I create a tight checklist and work through it with the determination of Sherman marching through Georgia. Less destruction, though.
On the creative side? I don’t want to journal, write, or make art. That has not happened to me in any time in my remembered life. Sure, the week my dad died, my divorce came through, and I got fired from my job (for spending two extra days with my newly-widowed mom), that week I didn’t do much. But that was a week. This has been four months.
This weekend, a small crack in this self-made prison appeared. I made a joke on Facebook about my inability to do creative work and several other people told me they felt the same way. This morning in the laundry room, several neighbors said they were hyper-vigilant and anxious too, having a hard time being productive at work. It actually made me feel better. Not so alone.
This is the paragraph where I usually pull the answer rabbit from the hat. No hat. No rabbit. Based on what I know about me, I will have to push myself to do something creative. I won’t enjoy the work. But I may think of something else, want to explore something new. Because sitting here and doing nothing except business work is not helping me live the life I want.
If you feel the same way, you are not alone. Sometimes comfort is company. Right now, that’s all I have. Like someone in a bunker, I’m hoping for an “all clear” sign and a return to creativity.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer, instructional designer, and trainer. She is also a creativity coach.