I am re-remembering my birthright of ‘prolific, endless, effortless creator’. (I have remembered and forgotten, remembered and forgotten at various times in my life.)
When I was a kid I created things, I gave them to the world in whatever way I could and then I let them go. One day I devoted the full extent of my creative energies to writing, producing and performing in a play that featured my little sister and my friend who had come over for the day and we performed it for an audience of one – my mum. The next week I wrote a different one. I wrote poetry purely because the lyricism of the words intrigued me (Even before I knew what ‘lyricism’ meant.) and I was in awe of the fact I could write poetry! You know the stuff in the books? The stuff we learnt about in English Class? I could write it too!
I made colourful, meticulous designs on grid paper and I treasured those simple pieces of paper. I got out my pencils and my drawing pad and the lady up the road taught me how to draw portraits and two hours later I looked at what I had drawn and I was happy to show the world. When some girls a few grades older than me taught us all a new dance (To the song ‘Achey Breaky Heart’ LOL Oh my god, I’m OLD! Hehehe) I wiggled my hips and waggled my finger and I just knew I was totally killing it! (Seriously, I was the only 6 year old in my school who had the hip wiggling down pat. Lol) If a game we were playing called for bows and arrows then I’d strip the rose stems of their thorns and make bows and arrows out of them. (I have an awesome scar from that little adventure – when making bows and arrows, point the Stanley knife away from your hands!) I was a fearless creator across the board. I could create amazing things! All the time, any time.
I never anguished over whether an audience would like or resonate with a song, a story or a performance I was creating. I never set myself bullshit timetables and schedules for creativity – I didn’t have to, creativity was always there. I never wrote a song and convinced myself I now had to write the accompanying album. If there was only one song in me in that moment, there was only one song. I never started writing a story or a poem with a word limit in mind – once the words stopped flowing, I stopped writing and that was that. The phrase ‘writer’s block’ was completely foreign. I started learning new circus skills and tricks without ever once considering whether they would be beneficial to my career. I learn them because I wanted to, because it was fun. I did not start new adventures demanding to know ‘Yeah, but what’s this leading to?’ I didn’t care if I became a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’, being a ‘Jack of all trades’ seemed kind of fun.
I did not specialise in anything, I could create pretty much anything. I never for a second entertained the possibility that my creativity could ‘dry up’. I never doubted my creativity, and in return, my creativity never doubted me. It never doubted that I would express what it showered on me, it never heard me say ‘But I’m not a writer. I’m not a painter. I’m not a musician.’ It never heard me say those things because I never said them. I had no notion of these mantels of ‘writer’, ‘artist’ and ‘musician’ and their limits and ‘boundaries’. I wasn’t a… anything… I was just creative.
And then I grew up. I grew up and I developed this unfortunate relationship with the Creativity Ogre. The Creativity Ogre patrols the fertile gardens of my life, ever alert for new shoots of creativity. The minute it spots a tiny, tender little shoot, it marches over and looms its ogre sized magnifying glass above said shoot, squints down and roars ‘WELL? WHAT ARE YOU?!’ The sun intensifies, as it is wont to do when directed through a magnifying glass, and the little shoot burns. Those that manage to survive are plucked from the ground and roughly transplanted into sterile greenhouses marked ‘Musician’, ‘Writer’, ‘Poet’, ‘Actor’ etc etc. Lots of them die. Damn Creativity Ogre.
But lately I’ve taken to distracting that kill-joy ogre with some bones to grind into bread and I’ve been treating the garden a little differently. I let little plants grow where they will, I don’t try to force shrubs to grow into massive trees and I make myself come to terms with the fact that some types of flowers only bloom once and that doesn’t make them any less beautiful when they are blooming. I let bugs eat what they will but I companion plant and that seems to be working well. I water my garden and I never once doubt that things will grow. Never.