If you’ve ever created anything: a painting, a birdhouse, a soapstone sculpture, you eventually get asked “Where are you going with this? Is there money in that?” This is where creativity hits conventional logic. The fit is tricky.
A lot of time and energy and money are poured into creative endeavors. There’s a payoff, but a monetary one isn’t first on the list. It can’t be. There are too many hits and misses, practices runs and false starts before whatever it is you’re doing becomes something. And I have two half-finished manuscripts, that will never see the light of day, sitting in my laptop to attest to that. And besides, foremost in creating is indulging that happy little five-year old inside of you. You know, the one with the finger paint up to the elbows, driving the whole shebang.
“I’m fine,” I keep repeating. I love it. I’ll never tell, but I adore the small bodies pressed against me, the unchecked affection and the way play and reality meld together so easily for them. Jeremy looks on, pleased to be at the hub of activity, drooling onto his purple crayon as Elsie peers closely at the finished drawings the children show her. (Closed Doors, ©2017)
Yet I still get those moments of doubt. The Is it all worth it? Why do I bother? moments when practical reality says creating is a waste of time. Where logic lays claim as the only reality and defines creative reality as a created reality in which you are fooling yourself with a pipe dream and you need to “get real”. Which real is that?
“That was inevitable because unlike you, Larissa dear, I have a real job that makes real money in the real world. I don’t spend my days doodling.”
On tips of toes and fingers, I try to get up but it’s pointless. “You truly are arrogant. It was the first thing I noticed about you.”
“Was it? I don’t think so. I remember how flustered you were, blushing and giddy at getting attention from a real man, not the socks and sandals crowd you run with. It was so cute.”(Closed Doors, ©2017)
In practical reality we like to measure everything. It’s the only way to compare and see what’s working. Measuring means numbers. Money is numbers. Creativity has its own measure that has nothing to do with numbers. It doesn’t mean it’s a dream world. You don’t have to “wake up” and leave. You don’t have to choose. They aren’t mutually exclusive. I’ve tried and I can’t. But beware, fear loves this angle. It wants you to close as many doors as possible. The more closed doors the safer life is. No more wasting time, it says, parading as your wise self. No more goofing. Stop investing, stop hurting yourself.
The five-year old is miserable. Fear has me fooled, so I tell her to grow up. “This isn’t the real world. We have to stop pretending we’re doing something. This isn’t going anywhere.” She pouts and drags her feet. She wins. And I’m back.
Update: This post is set for the 27th as I don’t always post immediately. I had to add in the following (February 25th) as the timing is so appropriate. The full moon of March 1st is in Virgo, a sign that rules systems, methods and the pragmatic. It’ll be opposite Pisces, the sign of intuition, illusion and dreams. Doable meets desirable. This will be an opportune time to clearly see a practical plan to reach our dreams along with being open to some out of the blue creative inspiration that may show us a new path to implement it. Happy travels.