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Forge On!

Artists have a reputation for passion and emotional engagement, qualities that prove essential. What happens without them?

Here’s an  anatomy of the creative process:

The seeds of ideas are formed over time then wait their turn, ever ready. In a moment, enough supporting circumstance will come together to bring one of them to life and a flash of energy sparks it’s birth. The work begins in earnest and former obstacles melt away in the rush to turn an idea into it’s tangible form, maybe art or a poem or a story. It’s an excitment that sometimes is amped up further by caffeine or pizza. As the painting or story gets closer to completion the intoxication of emotive forces drives away the desire for sleep and other distractions. The mood is further enhanced by music.

East Vancouver Dusk

East Vancouver Dusk

It’s a very good experience!

Every step of the way involves confirmatory feelings, such as inspiration or satisfaction. I suppose it is a fact that the artist has a superior ability to produce natural endorphins. I’ve wondered what might happen with that  advantage taken away.

Now I know.

That occurred with no warning. Inspiration ceased. I was not driven to create. I began to wonder if I’d have to kiss my life’s work goodbye and go on without it, an ordinary man stripped of his talent. As it turned out, I was suffering a health crises which finally was manifest with a nasty flu serious enough that I believed it might actually do me in. After a week the condition retooled  into a bronchitis-cold with endless coughing, especially when I attempted rest. Sleep was nearly impossible. After a week, that condition began to abate while something worse moved in. The pain was second only to the time I got busted up in an industrial accident that hospitalized me. The new condition stayed on for a week before landing me in urgency care. Without medical intervention I’d have expired miserably. What they discovered was something of a new record at the clinic. I was catheterized because I couldn’t empty my bladder and it held over a half gallon. For the next week and a half, I endured excruciating discomfort while the doctors waited for their proof that what I was enduring included the UTI that I told them they’d find. Finally a lab test confirmed it and they prescribed relief that actually worked. Meanwhile the bronchitis/cold condition returned with fury while the discomfort of other aspects of their treatment stayed on. The exquisite pain grew less and less so as the infection was subdued, replaced by inescapable aches. It hurt to sit and to stand.

Such discomforts are not helpful to the delicate workings of artistry and I was seriously unproductive.

The turn around came when my granddaughter was scheduled for a visit. Though physically miserable and still sick, I didn’t cancel. There have been too many times in the past when I was inclined to sit out family time but did not and then treasured memories resulted.

That visit probably did more for my recovery than anything else could have. Leah and I have excellent chemistry. There I was, sick as a dog, but energized and suddenly I found myself working! Afterward, I was renewed. Physically, the misery factor stayed and should have overpowered the sweet taste of inspiration, but I disregarded it.

The inspiration and it’s power also stayed, occupying it’s own space. While the distraction of pain remained, I discovered that I could still experience the familiar rush of applied artistry.  This makes sense. The alternative was to wait till everything returned to normal, but what if that never happened? And if it did, why dispose of time I can not replace?

No form of happiness should be put off if the only obstacle is that conditions aren’t just so. There may be a narrow window of opportunity which if missed will cause that something beautiful will not happen though it could have. That would be inexcusable.

Why do I learn such basic things so late in life?

Odd though, I’ve seen this lesson played out before. Young mothers quickly learn that waiting for the perfect moment must be replaced by the more practical approach of just doing what needs done and savoring the joys that naturally turn up.

Now it’s pretty clear that conditions don’t have to be just so in order to proceed. We’ve all heard that the journey begins with a single step but it’s never been said that the step must be taken in the sun, without assistance, in the calm, or even in good company. It simply must be taken.

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