How do You Talk About Living a Creative Life?

Last week, I blogged about odd places where writers pause to write. I posted a link to that blog entry in several places. One of those links, on a writers’ group I’m part of on LinkedIn, surprised me by sparking a big conversation that was still getting comments yesterday. Seems people love to talk about writing in their cars, at cafes, in the bath tub, in the shower (that writer used a white board just beyond the shower curtain), in cemeteries (really quiet), in their heads.

This active response reminded me how much people really want to discuss their own creative process in an uncomplicated way. We all sometimes want a quick connection to simply acknowledge that others are doing what we are doing: struggling to live a creative life. It’s easy to get tangled up in conversations that deconstruct some piece of art or argue about the best way to learn a craft. But those conversations take a lot of time, distract from precious hours when one actually has room to create a poem or a painting.

On the other hand, people who love us but aren’t engaged in creative arts careers don’t always know how to talk to us about what we do. The work of a writer or an artist is often viewed as some kind of play. The only gauge that is familiar is the one that comes in the form of a paycheck.

What is really a lovely gift is the occasional opportunity to say to someone else, “Hey, I actually figured out the end to my novel while I was on the bus,” or, “I figured out what was missing from my poem, finally, and it’s ready to go,” and have an understanding come back our way….a casual conversation that doesn’t make us defensive or ask us to explain our work. Just a simple acknowledgement that might include a, “Hey, me, too!” response with nothing further required.

Now, don’t you dare ask me when I’m going to get a real job.

TODAY’S CHANCE FOR KINDNESS:

A few years ago, when I worked for the Roseville Independent School District as a health assistant, I learned an uncomfortable fact: over the summer, kids whose families struggled financially did not always get enough food. Since then, times have gotten tougher and more people are hungry. Many of us think to donate over the winter holidays, but, during summer, not everyone knows their local food shelf still needs donations. Today’s link is to the Second Harvest Heartland program to help fight hunger. Find the link here. Pass it on.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=oneminnwrit-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1581809948&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr  http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=oneminnwrit-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0743235274&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr  Creative Life: Spirit, Power and Relationship in the Practice of Art

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2 comments

  1. You are so right that some people will only ever see value in creativity if it has a price tag attached.
    I write at work, on my lunch hour, much to the consternation of my coworkers. Every once in a while, to keep the peace – or rather keep them from thinking me TOO weird, I put in an appearance in the break room to hob nob with the rest. After all these years, they finally get it, telling the new woman – “Oh, she hides out in her office during lunch and writes or something. You know, poetry…” They don't roll their eyes, I'll give them that. 🙂 But I'd love to be able to write without being seen as a social outcast/misfit/weirdo/commie/nerd.

    I know, I know, good luck with that.

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  2. Hey, Constance – Thanks for stopping by!
    I've given up on social acceptance. For now. [Insert some kind of purple prose about Muse here.]
    Happy holiday weekend….may none of your favorite writing instruments run dry.

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