All you cat lovers out there, cover your ears! You won't like what I'm about to say ... (somebody please tell my 3-cats-sister not to read this one!)
I know a person – who shall remain nameless – who tells wild tales from their growing up years and the holy terror they and their friends meted out in their neighborhood. The second worst of these tales (the very worst one being completely banned from public tellings years ago) is about how they would find a stray cat and stuff it into a mailbox. Later, when the unsuspecting mailman showed up ... SURPRISE!
I propose that we should approach this new year like that mailman approached mail boxes in days following the event ... with a long broom handle, slowly and carefully from a very, very safe distance! So I don't know about the distance part, because the new year is already upon us ... but definitely we should proceed cautiously.
I don't know which is worse ... not knowing the cat is in the box and getting the big, unexpected surprise, like what happened last March when suddenly our world changed forever. Or maybe even worse, like this year, is knowing the cat's in the box and that we have to open that door!
All my life I've heard that art imitates life. I think this year, that has been turned on its head. This year, life is imitating art. Any creatives out there reading this will know exactly where I'm coming from. They've dealt with this terror before. Perhaps they can teach us some strategies for dealing with it. For all you non-creative types ... don't panic! ... welcome to our world!
It's the terror of the blank page.
Any normal new year is filled anticipation and expectancy ... a clean blank page, for sure ... but it's the kind of blank page that tantalizes and invites the creativity to flow. To fill up that emptiness with meaning and color and energy and all that good stuff that makes us love art so much!
But this isn't any normal year. It's neither inviting nor tantalizing. Anticipation and expectancy have turned into dread and trepidation. And the emptiness we sense isn't a space to fill. It's more like a voracious black hole coming to swallow us up! Happy New Year!
For all you non-creatives, this is what a creative block feels like. You've most likely heard of writer's block, but it can happen to any kind of creative including artists, musicians, etc., hence, I'll call it a creative block to include everybody.
And – lucky us – this is going to be like creative block on steroids! A universal experience! So hang on! If you aren't a creative type, but have some ditzy, creative friends, you are going to understand them much, much better now!
Perhaps you're already experiencing the first stage and symptom of creative block: paralysis. You want to move, you need to move, you know where you need to move to. But, try as you may, nothing's happening.
If you're experiencing this initial symptom of creative block, hang tight. In this month's blogs we'll take a look at how creatives handle the dreaded block. Perhaps we can learn some real life lessons from art. We'll let them show us how to get through this.
And a quick reminder for creatives with non-creative friends and family experiencing the symptoms ... be kind and patient ... lead them through the confusion gently ... this might be their first trip through the darkness ... just be there for them!