Sometimes I feel chained creatively… by this I mean not free; do you relate?
I just know that there is more creativity, more freedom, more compassion, more life imprisoned deep inside of me; desiring to be let out, longing to be set free. What is it that imprisons me? What is it that imprisons you?
The battle we fight as creative people is not against flesh and blood. There is a type of evil that keeps our creativity in dark dungeons under lock and key, this is not a friendly foes.
These foes offer a place of comfort and a false peace; without risk or battle we will always remain in chains.
I am writing a new screenplay at the moment, it’s an action piece, a post apocalyptic western set in a world much different from ours. As I create, rather find the characters, I am struck by the notion that for the most part our lives are very ordinary… But each of us are searching for that one glorious moment where we are truly ourselves, when we transcend and do something that is simply extraordinary.
These glorious moments are the focal points of all our dramatic narratives… the magnificent moments which inspire and move others to dream and imagine.
A person or a character probably only has 3 or 4 of these moments in their life, the rest of the time it is the “ordinary,” the hard slog, the monotonous, the searching, the failing, the finding, the losing… Each a part of the shaping and preparing for that one glorious moment.
No character lives in that glorious moment for ever… not this side of eternity anyway.
The wind blows where-ever it chooses and so it should be with you. Sometimes it is so frustrating, I make my plans but nothing ever turns out exactly how I hoped or imagined, maybe you can relate…
From a creative standpoint the imagination is constantly thwarted and always disappointed… why? Because we are imagining things that do not yet exist… we dream an idea, we develop a concept, then we finally give birth to our creative baby AND… Voila.. it looks nothing like our original intention.
This happens in everyday life too… you expect the house to be clean when you come home, you imagine an item on a dinner menu tasting a certain way, you expect the friend you’ve talked too only on the phone to have a certain skin color… you imagined it all, you made it all up… Yes, the imagination is a very powerful and dangerous thing… UNLESS…
Your imagination lives in that magnificent place of surrender, constantly listening, re-engaging and re-imagining; malleable to reality without trying to dictate or predict the future… going where-ever the good wind blows.
Being humble and slow is a great way of being, and it will great enhance the creative processes… let me explain…
Humility is big when it comes to the building of relationships with real people and/or the fictitious characters you maybe creating. Humility allows you to explore, and to understand without judgment, to ask good questions and to empathize with the predicaments and struggles of others. True humility comes not only from an honest appreciation of ones own flaws, but it filters through a lens of grace, the simple understanding that we are all flawed and that it is okay.
Going slowly, in your exploration of characters and story (the same thing) is also vital if you wish to produce work that will sustain and/last. Just like real life, it takes time to really get to know someone, and without patience the process is forced and rushed; people (or your characters) will be misunderstood and assumptions will be made, and your life (or work) will be poorer for it.
If you feel like rushing today… take your time… breathe deeply… have a cup of coffee with your character or friend and simply… listen.
Any creative process is difficult, time-consuming and arduous, when we lose touch with the “simple heart” of what we are trying to say or do.
Two questions are very important in searching for the heart of a story or a character…
- What is it about?
- What does that character (person) really want?
So often our answers to these questions, are bogus, superficial or false; they reflect the creative persons fear of going deep and actually revealing a truth about themselves. I wonder what happens when I step away from the creative process and ask my friends and/or myself these questions…
Often the answers are about a daily routine, or a career path, or a family goal; these answer are either a reflection (or a deflection) protecting something deeper, something more like a groan than a single word.
Don’t fall in love with your dream or fantasize about artistic success, riches, power or prestige.
Most dream chasers are naturally drawn towards the spotlight, but when we crave it, when we worship the idea of it… something terrible happens. We lose the purity in our art and the soul goes out of our music.
The moment we choose/make “our art” all about ourselves, we taint the purity of our creation with our own self-indulgence and we lose the trust of our audience.
The strong tendency to self-absorption and self promotion affects every artist, it doesn’t matter who we are, or what we have achieved; we have to work hard to fight against it.
The problem begins when we aspire and obsess about our dream, focusing on what it could do for us, rather than what it may lend to our audience. At the heart of the problem we have fallen in love with the dream… and have forgotten to worship the Dreamweaver.
When we were less enlightened we used to train Chimpanzee’s to dress up as people and entertain us by putting on tea parties.
While this was highly entertaining for some us, it was not much fun for the Chimpanzee. Year after year of performing, day after day of being forced to dress somebody else’s clothes, performing one cheap trick after another something happened to the Chimpanzee’s… they all went MAD.
One chimp exploded into a violent uncontrollable bout of rage, she turned over all the dinner tables, she broke all the china and she attacked her trainer leaving him close to death on life support. Other Chimps simply fell into deep bouts of depression, some developed early onset dementia. Suddenly all the people felt a little bad for paying $2 to watch Marge and George nibble on biscuits and drink Earl Gray tea and the tea parties were over…
A Chimpanzee is meant to be a Chimpanzee, AND a person is meant to live inside their own skin, not forced to play a different role for a mere $2.
I don’t feel like writing a blog today, and so I blog about not wanting to write instead… You can only write or really create from a place of raw vulnerability and intense honesty. You have to start with what you know and what you feel; or conversely what you don’t know or don’t feel. Unless you start creating or moving from the space where you currently exist, you will be phoning it all in; writing another persons words, living a role, thinking way too much about other people’s expectations.
It’s the way you walk with that ugly limp that makes your gait stand out from the crowd. Don’t try to walk normally or it will hurt more, your limp is your least painful method of motion, you don’t need to be ashamed of it.
These 7 promises will help the creative soul to continue to explore…
I promise to always remain curious
I promise to search the dark shadows with truth
I promise to never hide my inadequacies in the dark shadows
I promise to never become a slave to another mans crave
I promise to never lift myself above another and consider them inferior
I promise to never bullshit with pride
I choose to belief that I was created creative
The very best writers, film-makers and actors understand this story secret… everyone is important, there is no such thing as a secondary character or an background extra. Such attention to detail is what will make any story or any role you are involved in GREAT.
The premise behind this secret is the simple understanding that people are stories and “not plot” or “situations.” It so happens that in a film or a novel we CHOOSE to place our frame of focus over a particular person, character or group of people for a CHOSEN period of time. But stories have been told since the beginning of time, stories are happening all the time, and stories will be told until the end of time. The creator is simply choosing where to place his or her magnifying glass.
When I saturate myself in this truth… I never have a problem with writers block.