The All Important 3 Weeks On The Other Side of The Gate -
What on earth am I talking about?
Listen up, this is important.
I am coming out of blog hibernation to share this with you because I really think it is important ... important that is if you are a bit like me ... somewhat creative, but shy of the mark compared to what you are seeing out there in the blogosphere, or the Pinterest-sphere. This post does not apply to Melissa P., or west coast Elizabeth, but I am hoping they will read it as well.
I have been over the top, busy, busy, busy since I was last here on The Muse. I miss you guys, but I also have realized that my time away from the blogging world is critical to the creative process.
For the creative process, blogging and hitting the other blog & Pinterest sites, like a lab rat viciously hooked on a drug, is, for me, like being stuck in one season. One season only. Like being forever in "Spring", with all of it's bursting beauty, but never being privy to the other all important seasons that are vital & necessary for Spring to actually occur in all of it's awesomeness in the first place.
I have been taking care of business, my creative "business". Every day the autumn season has made changes. I can see them out my bedroom window.
They seem quite subtle, at first. Then there are riots of color that seem to be massive events in and of themselves, that permanently alter our direction.
The light, now at a definitively different angle than just a few weeks ago, makes me realize that everything IS different. Everything is working it's magic, full speed ahead, so that when the calendar pages get turned, and it is Spring, the hard work has been done and we are ready for it's glorious show.
Although it seems like it is a time to slow down and contemplate, the reality is actually quite different.
It is time to shut up and walk the walk. In Spring, when it comes, there will be time to talk the talk.
I got a chance to think about all this when on one of my hikes, a few days after a recent storm, I came upon this fallen tree:
Bizarre, isn't it? More bizarre if you were standing there, with me, looking at the gate it had naturally created by falling down in such a position. I couldn't figure out quite how the tree ended up like that. I walked up to it and still couldn't figure it out. It almost looked like the tree had been "flipped" into that location. Anyways, while my panting breath quieted down, as I took it all in, the natural "gate", made by this "tossed" tree, kept demanding my attention. A gate. A gate. A GATE? All of it could have been passed off as a natural event had I just kept hiking past it ... noticing it, but not much more. What I did, though, was not keep hiking past it. I stopped. Looked at it. Decidedly went off the trail I was on, and then, then I WENT THROUGH THE GATE.
On the other side of it, my life changed. This may sound like I am being a bit too dramatic. But I am sharing it with you like it happened. You see on the other side of it, I noticed how different it all looked from there. My sorroundings looked different, the gate looked different, but more importantly my hiking path, that I walk on regularly, looked totally different - as if I had never laid eyes on it before. Everything was new. Had I not taken the time to get to the other side of it, though, it would have been more of the same old, same old.
So how does this relate to my creativity? Let's see if I can explain it clearly enough for you to get something out of it. On the other side of the gate, completely unrelated to what I was looking at in front of my eyes, came a vision ... or perhaps more accurately: a visual... of a project I have been wanting to do.
In my "normal", or "usual", "Carolina-is-getting-a creative-spark" mode, I see something that floods my brain with a visual image. It can be something as simple as some fabrics that trigger the creative spark.
The impulsive side of me usually will purchase said object (sometimes it is not fabric or a yarn, but it is a unique thing I have spotted in a junky antique store). I come home, add it to my stash, and there it remains. On one side of the gate. It had an intial "Spring" burst upon purchase, but it did not rebloom. The project I had in mind was akin to an "annual", it never had the chance to fully perform.
On occasion, when Lady Luck is on my side, I work with it, pushing it to try and "bloom".
More often than not, though, I fail. I fail because I did not spend enough time with the project, giving it it's other "three seasons", if you will, before I am confronted by another Spring moment - compliments of, you guessed it, Pinterest, or some wonderful blog post by a creative "other". The addict in me, looks back at my project as if it's lack luster appearance is THE TRUTH of it ... and that is all it ever was.
How can something so creatively juicy, like Pinterest, or some of your gorgeous blogs, be so LETHAL to my own creativity?
The reason is because I don't work my way to spending the all vital and necessary three weeks on the other side of the gate.
I will spend one week, all ensconced in the newness of my project, and never get down to the knitty gritty that can only occur in the other three weeks.
It is in that knitty gritty three weeks that the gleam of magic may, M-A-Y, have a miniscule tiny prayer of shining through.
How stupid of me to let the Pinterest Giant invade the tender and fragile moments when I am on the precipice of the beginning of the three week struggle.
I need to see my projects and their status for what they are - on the week-one-side of the gate. I have five big projects, that I can quickly think of off the top of my head, that seem to have remained on this side of the gate, never making it to the other side. Shame on me.
Shame on me for calling myself a "creative", for what is a "creative, after all? It is someone who has the nerve, the inner gumption, the stupidity, call it what you will, the PULL to go through the gate and see the project from the other side, to work through the mundane hiccups inherent to all sparks worked through to completion, to spend time on the other side, to work things out, where most would not venture. The other side of the gate has one dark pit, though. This pit is what we call FAILURE. Many times we don't want to face failure for it is way easier to bask in the deliciosness of the possibility of success rather than the reality of facing harsh failure.
A creative is not someone who had the "spark", it is, rather, only those who continously trudge through the woods to the other side and camp out there until the work is done. Those few, and they alone, have the privilege of calling themselves creatives. Those - the creatives- I think have been keeping something from us.
They have seen failure, they have stared at it squarely. They keep good company with it, for they know without that vital courtship, no real breakthrough is possible. They don't laugh at failure. They laugh WITH it.
They never share the depth of their failures (and their doubts) with us. They never share just how much of their success depends on this most delicate of courtships.
Spending one week on an ultra creative high and three weeks avoiding doom sounds much more doable in these fast paced lives of ours, no? On the one hand, I can not blame myself for taking the easy way out. Motherhood & "housewifehood" are more complicated and difficult than I ever thought possible. On the other hand, staying on only one side of the gate means my creative sparks fizzle, creating no joy, no Spring.
here is what the creatives are keeping from us : failure is on BOTH sides of the gate. It is both in the dark pit of finding out your project, no matter how many times you reworked it, can not come to be for real logistical reasons, and it is ALSO on the side of the gate where you have done nothing with your creative spark.
Here is a question to ask yourself: how many of your truly great ideas fizzled because you never worked them out? Did you like your answer?
Here is something that might make you feel better:
If your project, your spark, fails because of real, logistical reasons, it won't really hurt, it will just be. You can handle that.
If your project, your spark, fails, because you never actually stepped up to the plate and "played ball", well ... that kind of pain can destroy you from the inside out. I don't want to find out that not making the choice to follow through on something, was itself a choice - a bad one. Do you?
So, three weeks. Why three weeks, you ask? Is that an arbitrary amount of time? No. It is not some random time alotment. I have been studying my patterns and I realize that I have about a one week creative burst per month. All the ideas during that time, flow through my brain with heightened vibrancy. On a side note - could it be affected by a natural tide of female hormones? Who knows ... maybe. The phase of the moon? I don't know. Study your own patterns closely for a bit, see if you notice anything that has a semblance of a pattern.
More importantly, think about which side of the gate your projects are on. Are they like mine? Stuck in a revolving door like stupor. Are they being squashed and dimmed by the the brilliancy eminating from your computer screen?
I have three-week creative business to tend to for several projects. They have been being stacked, back to back, for years now. I need to set up my own camp on the other side of the gate. I need to change my habit of the same old, same old. I need to do that if I am ever going to have a sliver of hope of creating my own Spring. I have gone off trail for a bit by not blogging. It has been good and necessary. I never, before, had realized I needed to walk through the gate and work on the other side of it. I didn't know that THAT was the work that actually needed to be done. I was convinced that the key to being better was inventing a new Spring, a better Spring, like those I see on the web. Silly me. It is not a new Spring I need to invent. I just need to work on the other seasons until the work blooms forth and appears to be doing it on it's own - creating the ONLY Spring I could create, a Carolina Spring.
I will leave it at that, hoping I explained myself well enough to those of you that are like me. If it is not complete enough of a thought, then help me out and add to it in the comment section. I felt like I had had a breakthrough that has been a big help to me and I wanted to share it with you incase you, too, were spending little time on only one side of the gate or if the web was actually keeping you from doing the hard work only you can do.
Well, then, that is it.
Working towards a good Spring,