Yesterday, I wrote about how I suspect creativity is something missing from my life that will make me more consistently happy
I do not describe myself as a creative person. I have no aesthetic sense. I write, but it is mostly in this blog post format. (I also write essays that I post on Medium) I took a lot of music classes as a child (piano lessons for years, band nerd) but didn’t keep it up as an adult. I sing loudly but worry I am off key. I do not dress in a way that is expressive on a day to day basis. I do not create.
There is, however, something unique about the way my brain lights up when I bring something into reality that sounds or feels the same way it does in my head. I get this professionally sometimes when I talk about marketing plans. It’s the same light up, synapses firing feeling I get when I hit a piano chord on a difficult key change I’ve been playing. When I hit the synth line bridge in “Are Friends Electric”? (F7/D7/G7/C7) or the bass line in “Temple of Love”, and I heard the sound under my hands match that in my head, my brain lit up. When I describe a feeling or explain something in a blog post, the same thing fires. There is something immensely gratifying in translating my brain into reality. (Also to singing along to Sisters of Mercy, especially if I can get my husband to play the bass while I play the guitar riff on piano)
Taking that a step further: I love being able read a piece of music and shape it with my own emotions and inflections. I love writing: I go into a trance writing, seeking the words to express myself. It’s not extraordinary creativity, it’s not creating something entirely new. Rather, it is shaping something that was already in existence, but in a way that dovetails with me and my brain.
I may have underestimated creativity or my need for it. I have been overly pragmatic and tried to focus all my energy into the material things I thought would make me consistently happy, and I don’t think that’s the answer. I don’t think that’s the best use of my light, so to speak. I am, after all, made of goddam stardust, and I am almost halfway through my time of having a soul attached to my physical body Earth, and perhaps crashing through on pragmatism and material priorities alone isn’t enough. Not that I need to disdain the practical world, more that I just don’t need to push the non-practical, the non-productive creative part of my nature, to the back of my brain until I can retire and work with it.
So this year, I am making it a point to be more creative and see what it feels like when I get something out of my brain and into existence. That steampunk novel idea that’s been rattling around in my brain? Let’s get that onto paper (or rather, Google Drive). I am pretty sure I am writing a derivative of Perdido Street Station, without as much actual talent or research or skill. It is still my bad steampunk novel and my world to build and visualize and live in (and I have realized that I can’t even write a goddamn escapist fantasy novel without a class war in it) and I will get it out of my brain one way or another. I’ve decided that rather than scooping my brain out is probably not as good an idea as it is to just take a writing class so I’m doing that through my alma mater
Oh, and I got a piano over the holiday so I can resume plunking out Bach preludes as part of the Royal Conservatory series. I love preludes! And fugues! I like pieces that work on a theme in classical music and shift slightly each time. I also really like Baroque music, and I had forgotten exactly how much I liked it until I spent a few days practicing Little Prelude in C Minor.
I am a little worried about trying to fit in Creativity among everything else going on. After all, I am up late just writing this (I’m telling myself it’s psychologically healthy to do so). The writing class I signed up for calls for 4 – 6 hours a week. Playing the piano is usually play for 30 – 45 minutes of practice. But that’s the time I was spending watching TV or reading books by other people. Which was valid, but I have decided that watching TV and making fun of SNL with Paul is just not as much of a priority right now.
I am slightly anxious how I can fit in dedicated creative time and gym time and cooking/house management, and launch Wallabout Bay (my new Scout troop) and manage 5th Brooklyn and help with Attrition Coalition and do well enough at my job to get access to the kind of growth in it that will make me happy and be a wife and mother…it’s a lot of and this and this and this, and all of it makes me feel slightly crazy overwhelmed.
I tell myself I’ll know soon enough. If dedicating time and energy to creativity is actually what is going to make me happy, I’ll prioritize it. If it doesn’t, I won’t. At least I won’t be telling myself that it’s not worth the time anymore. At least I won’t be telling myself that I don’t deserve to be creative, or that I can’t justify taking the time for it. At some point, I have to say, yes, I will do this. I will practice my crafts. And I may not be great at creating, but it lights my brain up in a way that makes me happy and may even make me better in other parts of my life. And that in itself is something.