Living Creatively

It’s nice living in a flat full of creative types. I decide to get up and leave my studio, having had a bit of an existential sit-down and a cuppa, and go buy more milk. There’s a photo shoot going on in the bathroom with some taxidermy scattered around – one of Vivienne’s friends is over. It’s nice just having the room to get up to stuff, and I do realise what a luxury that is in all honesty; not many people, especially round here, have the time or space to get out much of their creativity. I’m especially lucky to be both working and studying part time, and having a whole spare room to paint and wallow over the gaping void that is it all. Yeah, it’s nice – and I am lucky. Although, luck only ever has so much to do with it – it’s maybe more apt to say I’m fortunate, and proactive.

I decide to go offer tea to the others, being polite and all, coming back to the kitchen counter to my laptop. I like to write, and generally it is quite in-the-moment stuff like this. For me, writing is somewhere between reflecting, observing, and planning. In this form it’s a documentation of all that is going on, or at least the parts I choose to narrate, in my mind and my immediate moment. There’s a lot of hype about being in the moment, and all that. Buddhism and stuff, you know? Writing helps me to just be, whatever that may be at any given time. Right now, I’m not worried about the bigger context of this little string of sentences. I’m not worried about the purpose of it, or the purpose of me, or the purpose of anything for that matter. Right now, I’m writing (well, and making tea, but mostly writing). It’s all just happening, and I’m doing it.

The idea of living a ‘creative life’ comes with all sorts of connotations. Being a creative tends to get you pegged with the visual arts, or so I’ve found, but I (and many others) have a much broader scope of the word. To me, being a creative is a mind-set. Yes, chances are that mind-set expresses itself through some form of what you could call art, often visual art yes, but more than that. Writing is as much a part of my creative process and my art as anything else, but then it goes further than just your non-standard forms of ‘art’ (like digital art, dancing, or writing). A scientist, mathematician, or tennis player can be just as creative, and produce just as much an art as a painter or writer, so it’s not about the field you’re in. Being ‘an artist’ within some field tends to imply a level of mastery or proficiency, and I feel it all comes down to the mind-set, and how that is applied (or ‘acted out’).

Just like there used to be many more accepted forms of intelligence than the standard ‘general intelligence’ we speak of today (as in, IQ), I feel creativity has the same scope. It probably falls in to some overlapping categories, and takes various forms, but has similar mechanisms underpinning it. Things like our beliefs, attitudes and cognition are what form our creativity, and the way these lead us on certain paths where we acquire the skills and behaviours that people might associate with the individual being a creative.

The concept expands in to every facet of a person’s life, or at least can, and influences all sorts of decisions they make because of how they see the world. There seems to be some subjective quality to how people experience reality which shifts along a continuum as regarding where you are in terms of control, or creation. The loci of control, as the variable is often referred to in psychological study. It describes where you see life coming from, in a sense. Do you control the world, or does it control you? This is a very rough way to put it, but many people do fall in to such dichotomous thinking. Is life, and your current state of affairs, a result of what has proceeded it, or the yet-to-be taken steps that you lay out in front of yourself? Seeing things as one or the other of these, regardless of which, still puts you somewhat out of the picture though. Seeing the force of life as coming from behind, or pulling from the front, places all of the control externally. I would warn against jumping to the other extreme either, of course. It’s an easy pit-fall to think, if you come away from this kind of thinking, to see yourself as the divine force of life and creation (but perhaps a natural intellectual transitional state). Coming to see the integration of it all, the co-existence and interdependent origination, is where I find the most draw. The holistic creation of it all.

Well, my tea is barely luke-warm now, and I need to find a cover photo for this post, so I best get about that. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on the areas that I’ve rambled over here, so do drop me a comment below if you feel like it.

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