The creative process is not like a situation where you get struck by a single lightning bolt. You have on going discoveries, and there’s ongoing creative revelations. Yes, it’s really helpful to be marching toward a specific destination, but, along the way, you must allow yourself room for your ideas to blossom, take root, and grow — Carlton Cuse
Sometimes, you just have to get away from the confines of the familiar to rejuvenate yourself.
Over this past weekend, I was in Toronto attending the News Photographers Association of Canada’s photojournalism conference and the 2015 National Pictures of the Year awards gala.
It was an opportunity to say ‘hello’ to old friends, recharge the mental faculties needed barrel through everyday life and hopefully give the creative part of me an energy boost. First objective was achieved. Second objective seems to have been achieved but I’m holding off on a confirmation until the mental faculties have been sufficiently tested. Believe me, there are plenty of things that will test me and they could potentially start as early as today. Here’s to hoping I’ve chilled out enough to not give a shit.
As for the third objective, it was achieved in spades. My beneficiaries of the boost are the two characters for the untitled short story. I spent 97% of the flight to Toronto decompressing from everything I left back home. Then as the plane descended, one lazy memory led to an idea and quickly snowballed into what I considered to be a brilliant entry into a scene that’s been’s burning a hole in my head. All this before the plane’s wheels touched the ground.
I can’t even describe the nugget of a scene because that would just give away the nature of the relationship between the characters. But I can tell you as soon as the idea went kaboom in my head, my characters immediately went into action and showed me what they wanted to do. So, fucking brilliant. You should see the grins on their faces. Their cheeks will be sore.
Granted, what I consider a brilliant idea, someone else will regard it as cringe-inducing with a good measure of “I can’t look anyone in the eye, right now.” Look away or walk away if you must. I’m going full-throttle once I start working on that scene.
For the whole weekend, this scene was constantly present in my mind regardless of what I was doing at that moment. One could regard this as a skewed version of ‘the lights are on but no one’s home.’ It will not leave me until I punch out that scene on the keyboard. To be haunted like that is great. I crave them. It confirms that I’m on the right track with the idea.
Yes, there were times the characters distracted me to the point I’d cryptically say something, and the only person who really understood what was going on, was my best friend. Sharing knowing looks and chortles of laughter immediately after.
It was great to see my best friend again even though we discovered to our chagrin that a weekend wasn’t long enough to do shits and giggles any justice. We’re working on rectifying that issue.
A couple of other friends also discussed my writing with me. I knew one of the two would inquire but I hadn’t expected the second person to show interest in my literary pursuits. To be honest, I can’t even remember if I had informed him personally about my storytelling inclinations. And that leads me to believe he heard it through the grapevine or my Facebook status updates actually do make the odd appearance on his feed. His sincere curiosity regarding my future writing projects and publishing dreams had me feeling good about the things I want for my writing. I really enjoyed the discussion.
Reconnecting with people who get the creative part of me is satisfying to the soul. That respect and support means a lot to me. Should other aspects of my life go bat-shit crazy, I’ll be holding on to that respect and support. Creativity needs to survive, to be nourished in order to flourish. I will fight tooth and nail to maintain its vitality. Being with folks who get me and and get the creative process is a lifeline I can’t function without.
This weekend was important for me, creatively. And I’m thrilled some really cool shit popped into my head.
Couldn’t ask for more.