I shut my eyes in order to see.
― Paul Gauguin
The creative life, I’ve often contended, is romanticized. Many creatives, I think, try to look the part. Or, they try to look the way they think a creative is supposed to look. A true creative, I think, is not countercultural or iconoclastic. They are, at their most pure, metacultural. Conforming isn’t their bag but neither is not confirming. They don’t have to look different by intention. The true creative isn’t pretentious.
Forgotten is the work behind any great piece of art. With that said, no one is perfectly a creative. That term itself is a construct. It is a created idea that’s fuzzy in application. We are whole people full of whole personalities. What does a creative look like? If you read poetry magazines, you’d think all the creative women don’t wear makeup and all the men are either especially rugged or effeminate. Some do, naturally, but that is a marketed image by a number of publications. Or the image of the long-haired artist. Turtlenecks. Berets. Hipster androgyny. A number of other stereotypes come to mind. If a creative is in fact metacultural, he is unconcerned about fitting in or meeting anyone’s expectations. Look at Bob Dylan. When he went electric (Bringing It All Back Home), some stuck-in-the-mud folk traditionalists booed him when, in fact, they were the ones who sold on. Similarly, when Dylan made three Christian albums, he was booed by people intolerant of how countercultural it was for a rocker at his level to sing religious songs.
What is a creative’s life like, then? It is a unfair question I’m asking. I’ve just described how creatives are metacultural. This also means boxing them in — boxing us in — isn’t possible.On one hand, you’ll have Bjork, and then David Bowie on the other, modernly. Both flamboyant and very different. Their flamboyancy isn’t why their music is amazing. It is their creative excellence. Then, historically, all sorts of writers from every personality. Christians, like Gerard Manley Hopkins and C.S. Lewis, and atheists like Carl Sandburg and Herman Melville. All excellent, all creative. Different personas all unconcerned with their brand, so to speak, All and each started with “what if” and leaped. Some say youth has fewer creative inhibitions. I say the older folks have no one to impress but the muse. Brilliant creative often are those with those most gray. If youth’s energy and enthusiasm could be tapped by those with the most experience, what a delicious world this would be. In other words, I cannot really even say what a creative life is not because, in doing so, I say such a life can be anything, as an limited as human life is possible. I can say what I think any full-time creative would say, “Feed yourself.” I expect for the true creative they don’t need instruction. It simply means, be curious, keep reading, listening, viewing art and life. Ask questions. Listen. Absorb. It means keep doing the thing you love as excellently as you can. You might find yourself obsessive about it. Passions aren’t quickly quelled. Feeding them probably will make you hungrier than ever. Read some creativity quotes. Like this? Help a guy out by liking or sharing it on social media. Or, check out my shameless advertising page.
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