Fear, Revelation And Creativity

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Willem De Kooning

“Here in India nobody wants you to be free. Everybody wants you to be respectable, and the moment you are respectable you are finished. There can be no freedom for you. To find out what is freedom you must have tremendous energy, and that energy comes into being only when there is no fear.” — Krishnamurti

Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life…If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature…Be glad that you can recognize it, for you will thus avoid becoming its victim. — Jung

“Soul is the glue of the world and the connecting agent of existence. When we lose our way in this world it is the soul’s way of being in touch with the pulse of life that has been lost. For we are most lost and truly abandoned when we have lost touch with our own soul, with our own inward style and way of being in the world. By its nature soul is the mutable, multiple, changeable aspect of both the world and individual life.” — Michael Meade

A little girl, four years old, says she knows what drawing is; “You just think something and run a line around your think.”

When I’m creating something, I like to keep the process open. I feel my way forward, putting in and taking out lots of different ingredients. I like to try things just to see how I like it. There are as many ways to create as there are people, I’m sure, so I have noticed that my methods don’t work for everyone.

My wife, for example, is closer to the little girl who runs a line around her “think.” She sees what she wants in her mind’s eye and proceeds to make it happen. That doesn’t work for me. I usually don’t know what I’ve been about until I arrive at the end.

I have to discover it. I pretty much write the way I paint. I discover my theme through suggestion and intuition — and faith that something good will show up if I just keep going.

But it’s true that there is always an element of anxiety in the background. There is always the possibility of losing touch with yourself and creating a mess instead of a beautiful, full throated poem, a song from the heart.

I have faith that one of the many voices living deep inside me will awaken and speak if I tickle its feet with just the right feather. Just the right words, ideas or images inevitably starts a dialogue with something slumbering just under the surface. These voices want to speak, and they have things they need to get off their chest. They just need a little encouragement. I believe the word for that element of encouragement is “prompt.”

Knowing what kinds of prompts to use makes the process easy.

I’ve noticed that these voices don’t run out of things to say, even if they stick to a narrow range of themes. I’m often surprised at what comes forth when I start typing or drawing. I can hardly wait to know what I think about some of these questions as I start exploring them. I am amazed by folks who already know. I have an inkling, of course, but only when I’m sure that the line I’ve drawn really did go around my true think can I be sure.

A lot of the fun for me in creativity is discovery of ideas, beauties and connections that were only half visible to me before I started. This is why I create.

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