what i don’t know about creativity

i know that it is always just below the surface of your skin (dare i say bubbling?) that skein of milk as it warms in a pan on the stove for hot chocolate, the pot set askew on the flame so that one side boils faster than the other.  it’s a balloon on the surface, & with its little ‘plomp’ it bursts & divides & spreads across the surface, multiple events, all of which are difficult to track, one by one, but relative to the objective, combine to create the smell of warm milk, comfort anticipated, frost on the kitchen window as the steam adds a layer of mica to the glass & distorts the outside world (pleasantly so.)

it’s there in the darkness.   you climb the mountain to the ascetic waiting patiently to distill the essence of being, but he tells you that it was within you all the time, dormant, unbidden, unloved (the repression of adults, who in a fit of pique deny your creativity with abject praise or complete indifference.)  the darkness of the cave is a refuge of what you do not know, repression like hibernation.   the sunlight of creating warms the front of your cave, you start to feel it on the bristles of your beard & it leaks under the lashes & lids of your eyes shut tight against the waking.

it struts & preens like a cock before a hen, “choose me, choose me,” it crows but you turn your back to it, its promise of blooming fields of flowers displayed in the fan of its tail, the orgasm of mating, that quick mount & sudden shock of release pushed back, sublimated after years of no, that won’t do, that’s not very good, that won’t make you a living, don’t waste your time, don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t, the rhythm of the blood in your temples (is it any wonder they call that spot on either side of your head ‘the temple’, its where a crown would rest, your god-head.)

but it is still there after all.  it bleeds into what you do everyday, little leaks, a tear drop, a runny nose, just as a reminder that it exists, perhaps it is even an irritant, a pebble under the 3rd toe of your left foot in a shoe that pinches at the arch, a splinter of wood that evades extraction, floating just under the skin “i can see it!” so that you have to tear away a layer of resistance to ease the suffering it causes you (too small to cause real pain, too big to be ignored, after all, a finger is forgotten until its easy use is denied you.)

this blog represents the longest, most consistent spurt of creativity i have had since adulthood.   of course, i have not spent my life denying my creative nature, but i have put it on hold here & there, letting it pop out (as it did in 1980 when i created the works that accompany this post.)  it’s not that i am not creative in my day-to-day existence, i am (at least i like to believe that,) but what i want to say is that this time, here, at the keyboard, has been a boon to me, i like to think of it as a place where ideas get worked out, thought out, said out loud (even if i’m the only one reading them,) a place where my creativity gets to go for a walk in the sunshine (& sometimes in the rain.)

you should try it, even if you think you might get wet (or cry, or laugh, or tire from the climb, or suffer the indignities of day-to-day existence, a pebble here, a splinter there.)


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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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