For as long as I can remember I have created. It was also a way for me to connect with my family and ultimately, find validation as a small human girl in what seemed like an enormous universe of people and faces and bells and jobs and phones ringing- I grew up in a Motel in a seaside town. It was busy.
For those who know me well, and possibly those who follow along on IG, you may have picked up (or not - IG has a weird way of making everything Disney!) that creativity, the one thing I could always count on, wasn't exactly showing up for me like it used to over the last 2ish years. I'm pretty sure that the overwhelm of Covid, mothering, self employment, floods, and generally, the global insanity that has ensued, just got to me and we all know that creativity tends to wither considerably when stresses take hold. The foundations buckle.
Just recently, in the past few weeks, a trusted, supportive soul made a passing comment to me about a piece of writing they had seen about creativity, about writing in particular. They suggested it may help. They mentioned Mary Oliver and something about Romeo. It was vague but I had enough to google. I love Mary, so I came home and did just that. I googled.
Since finding and reading this piece of writing, an excerpt from Mary Oliver's, A Poetry Handbook, there has been a tectonic shift in my relationship with the making of art and the making of things. I couldn't even step into my art studio for a really long time. It didn't call to me like it used to. This piece of writing gave me a completely new way to view such an integral part of myself. Needless to say, I witnessed a seismic shift in the relationship with myself too - which also means a relationship with my innate expression and limitless energy. Let's just say it's been big.
So in lieu of a 6 Questions interview this month, I thought I'd share this piece of writing with you. You may need it right now, you may need it in five years or you may never need it......but someone you know might.
It's powerful and beautiful and the type of advice that "if had of known all of this earlier".....well who knows, I probably wouldn't have listened anyway because I knew everything and shush I'm listening to The Smiths.
Anyway, a small gift to you that was given to me.
If Romeo and Juliet had made their appointments to meet, in the moonlight-swept orchard, in all the peril and sweetness of conspiracy, and then more often than not failed to meet — one or the other lagging, or afraid, or busy elsewhere — there would have been no romance, no passion, none of the drama for which we remember and celebrate them. Writing a poem is not so different—it is a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind. They make appointments with each other, and keep them, and something begins to happen. Or, they make appointments with each other but are casual and often fail to keep them: count on it, nothing happens.
The part of the psyche that works in concert with consciousness and supplies a necessary part of the poem — the heart of the star as opposed to the shape of a star, let us say — exists in a mysterious, unmapped zone: not unconscious, not subconscious, but cautious. It learns quickly what sort of courtship it is going to be. Say you promise to be at your desk in the evenings, from seven to nine. It waits, it watches. If you are reliably there, it begins to show itself — soon it begins to arrive when you do. But if you are only there sometimes and are frequently late or inattentive, it will appear fleetingly, or it will not appear at all.
Why should it? It can wait. It can stay silent a lifetime. Who knows anyway what it is, that wild, silky part of ourselves without which no poem can live? But we do know this: if it is going to enter into a passionate relationship and speak what is in its own portion of your mind, the other responsible and purposeful part of you had better be a Romeo. It doesn’t matter if risk is somewhere close by — risk is always hovering somewhere. But it won’t involve itself with anything less than a perfect seriousness.
By Mary Oliver from A Poetry Handbook