Saturday, 20 March 2010

Academic code

I remember the first time I wrote something about 'inner' or 'private' here I felt as though I had violated some kind of academic code. I've been trained to look carefully at binaries such as inner/outer, or private/public, and to notice how what they're supposed to refer to often falls apart when you just stop to think about it for a minute.

But critical insight of this kind can also be deeply undermining. It may be true that what might be experienced as 'inner' is entirely made up of concepts, rules and mores from society and culture; or that much of what was once seen as private is now smeared across the internet, assessed by institutions, or stored on a database somewhere. But critique of 'inner' doesn't remove the sense of it.

'Inner' has no clear edges, no fixed form. But it knows itself nonetheless...

Monday, 15 March 2010

Making space

The theme of space seems to recur continually when talking to people about creativity. Lack of space, lack of space, lack of space... eddies around everything. Years of the habit of putting earning money and attending to the needs of others seem to have resulted in a situation where many of us inhabit social, behavioural and spatial conditions which are designed to continually and effortlessly produce a sense that exploring creativity is 'selfish', or at least self-indulgent.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, mentioned previously in relation to the non-religious use of meditation for the reduction of stress, however, says that people soon stop complaining about not having 45 minutes a day for the practice of meditation when they see the effect it has on their lives. 

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Inner space

Maisel and others argue that there's no creativity without space.

Inner space, as well as physical space; mental space, emotional space.

Whilst recognising the creative potential of deadlines, panic, and constraints, there also seems to be a suggestion that there can be no creativity in a rush.

The crush, tiny moment, force approach perhaps works at times, or for a while. To sustain itself, though, I suspect that it needs to be fed, ultimately, with a different kind of food.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Quiet monologue

A couple of posts ago I was speculating about the motivation for writing this blog. I said it was an affirmation - a way of giving a particular kind of creativity permission to exist alongside struggle, compromise and pain.

When I told someone about it some weeks ago, I felt self-conscious, suspicious of my motives. The person I was talking to suggested that it wasn't necessarily egotistical, but a search for dialogue.

Having had no dialogue so far, however, and despite my encouraging any potential readers to comment, I now feel very grateful for the lack of comments. Comments would be interesting. They would also take the conversation off in new directions. The lack of comments allows me to quietly follow a thread of ideas through time, at my own pace, undisturbed by other people's interpretations, or desire to share experience.

The lack of response is a liberation for what Dyer calls 'the dependent mind' - the mind which, when receiving praise, is encouraged to act in ways that will generate more praise, and which, when receiving criticism, tries even harder to prove other people wrong. Both ways, you're being directed by forces outside of yourself. 

People may read, or they may not read. But the process of taking a single idea, pinning it to an image, and writing something quite short (potentially public, but silently so) continues to give me a new kind of creative satisfaction.


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