Let’s just call it as it is from the get go – it’s been a helluva long time since I have written a post. The worst part is as I was logging into WordPress I was crossing my fingers that I still knew my password. So yeah, it’s been that long.
It’s kind of funny, I thought of the title for this post about a week ago. But I am only now writing the post, obviously. The more interesting part is that this reminded me of a video I watched a long time ago by Elizabeth Gilbert aptly titled, “Your elusive creative genius”. Elusive being the key word and theme of this post. The video is absolutely worth a watch, but I will give you the gist of it here. She talks about your creative side as being this well, “entity” if you will, that “chooses” you. I know, it sounds weird and super woo-woo, but hear me out. Better yet watch the video here.
Basically throughout history many cultures believed that these entities lived in the home of an artist and would help them with their work. They referred to these entities as the artists, “genius“. The genius would help to create it and shape the artists work. Which also meant the artist had this “protection” around them, that if their work sucked it wasn’t entirely their fault, their genius was also to blame. A lot of creative people are under the impression that being an artist has to be stressful, and you have to produce amazing works, frequently. And you always have it in your mind that you know your work is going to be judged. And unfortunately, this is the way the world has gone now, no more genius to blame.
Where this relates to me is that later in her talk, Elizabeth talks about an American poet, Ruth Stone. Ruth had once said that she could literally feel and hear a poem hurdling towards her, over the landscape when she was working outside. She would have to run to her house as fast as she could to find a piece of paper and a pen and write the poem as it came rushing through her. Sometimes, she wouldn’t make it to the house in time, she could feel the poem rushing through her and leaving to, “find another poet”, as she put it. This sounds crazy, to most of you reading this. But to the small percentage reading this that are writers themselves, you know exactly what this feels like. The sensation of having words literally flying at you, and you recognizing the genius behind them is always breathtaking. On the same hand, you’ve also felt the disappointment that happens when you weren’t able to write the words down quickly enough. It’s as if you have instant alzheimers and can’t even remember the basic message of what just passed through your brain. Poof, gone, deleted forever.
Elizabeth continues and talks about some of the struggles she had with writing Eat, Pray Love. And one night she was at such a loss that she started openly speaking to this “genius” and literally called it out, basically saying, “Hey buddy I showed up for my part of the job, remember you still have a part to do too.” And this left me wondering, could my creative genius have left me? I have basically abandoned it for months on end now. There have been little blips of inspiration that have come my way, but instead of doing my usual, let’s see how fast I can write this down craze, I just shrugged it off and went about my business. Pretty cold if you ask me.
This also made me rethink the whole – you can blame sucky work partly on your creative genius. But then I thought, well, who are you going to blame when you stop creating altogether?
So where am I going with this? I won’t lie that this has been one of the more difficult posts for me to write. It just wasn’t as easy and “flowy” as most of my writing. Which is why again I had to wonder if my creative genius is no longer just elusive, but if it has decided to elude me entirely. But if my creative genius is anything like me, it’s probably sitting in the corner, watching me struggle to write this, evilly laughing to itself all the while saying, “Na, na, this is what you get!” and sticking it’s tongue out at me. Yeah, that would definitely be my genius. And as I write that little bit of banter, I can literally feel its presence again. It’s very slight, but it’s there. And it will probably continue to give me shit for a little while, but I can’t blame it.
I’d love to know if you have had bursts of creativity that relate to this story of the creative genius, I can’t be the only one. The first time I this talk, especially the part about Rose, I got chills. I always thought I was crazy, but now I know I can just blame it on my genius. Leave me a comment with your story 🙂