“You have quite the internet presence,” said the woman on the phone who interviewed me six months ago for a part time position. “Well, this is complicated,” she continued. “I think you are exactly what we are looking for, but I’m not sure what I think of what you write. The topics you write about, you know? Granted, it’s not fair to judge you based on your writing vs not having the same criteria for all the other applicants. It’s just I’m more comfortable hiring someone whose beliefs and ideas are unknown to me.”
I put down the phone in stunned silence. I told my hubby what happened. He said, “Well, you obviously are not getting that job.” And he was right. “Just let it go,” he said. That was six months ago.
I did think, well, if she thought the content of my blog and web sites were controversial ( I don’t see the controversy), wait till she reads my novel. They would have fired me for sure, if I’d been hired.
Yes, I do have quite the internet presence, but hey, I’m out there trying to connect, trying to make a business, trying to share my inner sanctum with others who might benefit. I think it’s altruistic, in some respects. Does it make me vulnerable to scrutiny? Yes, and I knew this when I finally got the courage to write and put it out there. So what is the problem?
The problem is… this is the first thing I have written in six months. All editing, plotting, character development, research and blog writing came to a crashing halt. You don’t want to see me when I’m not writing. It’s not pretty. This is devastating to me and I am the one who is keeping me stuck!
“Do you stand by your writing?” hubby asks on the one hundredth conversation about the same topic. Of course I do. “Then this is a no-brainer, just start writing again and don’t let anyone slow you down.” God love him, he doesn’t get it.
I walk around in this state of malaise, passing by the proof of my novel on the desk, the dust covered storyboard of the next novel in the works, and think – is this what life is all about? That’s when I know I’m in deep doo-doo, when I realize my daily writing has become a once in a six month event and I’m contemplating the meaning of life – again.
It’s easy to tell my clients to do reality checks on those insidious thoughts and hidden emotions. It’s even easier to help my expressive writing clients work through their writing blocks and put their life on the page. Oh, therapist, heal thy self. It’s not like I don’t have the skills.
This is where the nude writing comes in. I thought my problem is that I felt vulnerable and exposed as a result of that ridiculous phone call six months ago. Even though I was already willingly vulnerable and exposed, having it brought to my attention somehow changed things.
Hmm, I often tell my clients to embrace that which causes us pain instead of hiding or running. So, I’m embracing feeling vulnerable and exposed. The next step is called flooding. It’s where you find a situation where you feel really uncomfortable with what ails you and work your way through. I can’t currently think of any situation other than writing this blog naked to feel totally exposed and vulnerable. So here I am writing again!
Am I naked? Hell no! Its sixty-four degrees in this house and the heater is not on! Do you think I’m insane? Which brings me to my last point, the imagination is an amazing tool. In a world of pure imagination you can conquer just about anything – and you get to keep your clothes on.
Go ahead and shake your head but to create is to live. It does not matter if its writing, sculpting, painting, dancing, music, drafting, engineering or finding a new way to make pot roast. We all create. Yes, even those of you saying, I don’t have any talent or a creative bone in my body. Yes, you do. It’s in your code, your DNA.
Think of what the world would be like if there was no such thing as being creative. You can’t because the world as we know it would not exist. Animals create, plants do and what’s that word… procreate.
Okay, that’s a stretch. The point is, we all do this, need this and yet so many people are under the impression that “to create” is a frivolousness activity outside productive society. They are wrong. It is the very fabric of society.
According to many studies, children who are encouraged to use their imagination, who are involved, exposed to creative endeavors score higher on tests in school and do better at seeing options in life others miss.
Creative thinking utilizes imagination, exploration of options, reflection and critical thinking skills. In an article, Art in Schools Inspires Tomorrow’s Creative Thinkers, Without the arts, education’s grade is Incomplete, by Jeffrey Schnapp, he discusses how creativity and the arts are essential to reading, writing and arithmetic. They are all interconnected like the spider’s web, the fabric of life.
Creative people ask the hard questions such as, how can I get ideas, information and communication from one person to another. What would happen if I stepped aside from the familiar and public confirmatory? What new thing or idea could I imagine and create?
Without this, there would be no internet, computers, cell phones, televisions, radios, cars, refrigerators to name thousands of others. Not to mention all the entertainment we use daily from music, television, books and games (like Candy Crush, which I am currently addicted). And don’t forget the photographs, paintings, textiles, clothing, furniture and house styles we use.
So, tell me, where don’t we use creativity, our talents and the arts? Isn’t it odd that when you look at creativity this way, how silly it seemly to take money away from the creative endeavors in schools and choosing to put kids in competitive venues and watching test scores instead. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to the individual and society to have balance between the three?
According to Schnapp, Nazi Germany and the Taliban both tried going the route of eliminating creative thinking and art. I think we know the rest of their stories.
My writing coach, fiction, song writer and poet, Melissa Green, runs a non-profit organization in Lancaster, Pennsylvania called, Write from the Heart. Her goal is to inspire the creative spirit and to support those who have encountered resistance or fear when trying to express their creativity through writing. As I meet other writers under her wing, I am often amazed at hearing the insidious ways many were drilled from childhood that being creative was wrong. Being artistic was not appropriate. I, thank goodness, came from a very creative, artistically supportive environment. I can’t imagine growing up in that kind of environment.
Last evening, Melissa presented a short quote from Hugh Prather’s, I Touch the Earth, The Earth Touches Me. It is: “There were seventy five people in the lobby and only a seven year old girl was finding out what it felt like to sit on a marble floor.” At first this seems absurd. But think about this. What if everyone took the time to explore and contemplate the merits of sitting on a marble floor? What if Orville and Wilbur Wright hadn’t explored the merits of travel by air?
Today, be extra creative! Even if it means putting an extra potato in your pot roast.
More information about Write from the Heart, http://www.writefromtheheart.us/