As usual, I am frustrated with my station in life because I live in a society that makes it hard to be creative and live comfortably. Thus, I work a job that I'm not crazy about, but happy and grateful to have, and my true love - my creativity - suffers.
My greatest downfall is my inability to finish what I start, or carry anything to the end. I have time-management issues, as I have been made uncomfortably aware of by working at the bank, and while I don't believe for a minute that I have something like ADD, I do believe that I have let a good portion of my memory and focus dwindle away. (But I am told that such things can be regained.)
I picked up The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women at Barnes and Nobel in Fort Wayne last weekend while we were killing time before a wedding. It was on the discount shelf, and definitely doesn't have the gorgeous cover art that the book on Amazon.com has. But I've never been one to concern myself with cover art - but instead, the text inside. After all, there's a great song about not judging a book by looking at it's cover.
The author, Gail McMeekin, and I seem to have a lot in common. Both of us have struggled with places to put our creative energy, both have struggled with chronic fatigue syndrome, and like her, I have noticed that women are often expected to push their creativity into the backmost parts of our minds in order to become productive members of society. I am no feminist, not by a long shot, but I do agree that our modern society still has some expectations of women that aren't very fair. (However, I believe they were brought about BY the feminist movement, and they aren't doing anything to help get rid of them.)
I remember a time when I was putting together an elaborate scrapbook to chronicle my journeys through the south-eastern countries of Africa. My mom loved it, but I remember her saying, "It's great that Lindsey has so many creative outlets. It will really help her get through life." My parents have struggled their entire lives with poor financial choices and having to work minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. In short, they have both had to labor while pushing their creativity in the background. Sure, it came out in other places - my mom owned a salon for 20 years, and our house was the most attractive in the neighborhood. But my parents never got the opportunity to follow their true dreams.
I dread the thought that such could be my case. When I think about the years to come, I have a sense of foreboding that I might be one of those folks who simply travels around from job to job because they can't stick with any of the work - I have only worked at the bank for 3 months and I'm already hoping that another opportunity will present itself so that I can quit. I don't want to be one of the millions who pushes their true passions out of the door and conforms to expectations of them.
I particularly like that this book offers challenges to help a woman unlock her creative potential. I have already noticed that there are things I could be doing to help encourage myself into better ideas. I have recognized for a long time that I need a partned - but the right one hasn't come along yet. I am co-dependent in the sense that I need a coach - someone to help me follow-through. I am unsuccessful alone - but with that other person, I can do almost anything.
The first challeng in "12 Secrets" is to take a creative inventory of yourself. I am a little more that halfway through adding that to my journal. I am going to post the questions, and hope that someone out there feels like adding their thoughts on one or two of them as I put my own answers out there for the world to read in future postings.
Creative Style Inventory
1. When did your creative awakening or reawakening occur?
2. What talents do you naturally have?
3. Which elements (fire, wood, water, air, etc.) draw you toward them?
4. Where and when do you create? Where and when do you wish to create?
5. What activates your creative energy?
6. Do you use creative rituals? What are they? If not, invent some for yourself!
7. Does nature influence your creativity? If it does, how?
8. What has been your greatest creative hurdle thus far?
9. What time of day are you most receptive to inspiration?
In the next few weeks, I am going to put up passages from my journal exploring these questions and it would warm my heart to see one or two responses from others out there. Who knows, maybe somewhere out there is that creative partner I've been waiting for and haven't opened my eyes to seeing yet!