Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Following artistic callings

So today's posting is just something I've been pondering for awhile and thought I'd share. I've been thinking about artists. What makes people artists?

I know from my own personal experience that creating things is just part of who I am. I have to have an outlet. Whether or not I excel at that art is moot. I just have to follow what I've been inspired to do. No matter the time or place. Many times I'll just seek out a pen and paper to put down what has attacked my brain and maybe later I'll look it at and develop it. I've been known to wake up at night to jot down a stanza or idea or sketch something out. That's when the muse just happens to throw me an idea. Other times, it's a full out compulsion, hours upon hours are spent on these thoughts and time slips by me unawares.

I've dabbled in painting, sewing, fiber arts, sketching, writing, and cooking. Some I've excelled at and continued, others just mediocre, a passing fancy. When the feeling hits me that I have to, that tiny spark of creation is inside me, I have to let it out. It's almost a compulsion. If I don't have the ability to create when I need or want to I actually feel emotionally bad. I'm irritable and cranky.

I wonder if this is how it is for others? Does a muse overcome them and practically force creativity to flow through them? Does an artist have to have angst to create? I seem to feel most creative when I have turmoil in my life. The plethora of drawing and painting and poetry I did as a teen was my most artistically productive and most emotionally scarred time so far in my life (so far). While all of the paintings are gone, I do still have some of the works of poetry and drawings. Looking back, it seems almost like a completely different person did it, though I do remember with painful clarity the exact times I composed some of those writings.

Maybe that's what I felt the compulsion to do; to form a portal on paper to a world I left behind. Even if at the time I had no realization that was what I was doing. When I look back now, I remember things about my situation and surroundings with more clarity than I had being in it at the time. I am able to sort out my responsibility in what happened and know that I survived that life and was able to forge a new one.

Though I've been able to create art through love, most of those things have been specific for a certain person, mostly my children. Those times they have been my muses and I revel not in the relief of creation but from the happiness I create for them with my art. It's a different muse that directs those crafts. These types I can pick up and put down at my leisure. Still sating the need for creativity, but not the hot, firey compulsion that sometimes hits me. I wonder if that's the same for others?

A few weeks ago, a muse threw at me the plot for a story, enveloping some of my own experiences into the mix. It happened at about ten one night and I've been called back to that muse many times over, spending hours and hours at the computer writing into the wee part of the night. Whether or not the story is any good, if anyone else would want to read it isn't the most important part, though I would like to share my art with others, it's just the act of creation.

So to those of you out there that have a desire or even a raw need to create, I ask you, where does your inspiration come from?

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