The quote goes: Nothing in nature blooms all year round, and neither should you. I read those words scrolling through Instagram and all neurons fired to my thumb for an instant double tap. Truly I heart this sentiment. The idea that it is unnatural to churn out creative impulses indefinitely isn’t new, but it is worth repeating for me, right now. Following the sweet torment of wedding minutiae that resulted in the most magical and satisfying day of my life, I’d felt as though my brain had been wiped clean. Innocent citizen in Men in Black clean. Mischievous Martian soldier in Sirens of Titan clean. I’d replaced writing, painting, and reading for pleasure with research, organization, graphic design, and crafts, and found at the other end of the tunnel, the one I exited as a married woman, that I had nary a stray thought left to my new name. If there was anything left in there, seven days of binge drinking on Cuban soil blasted it out.
It took about three weeks to feel some regrowth, but I finally pulled out a couple of old paintings for reworking. In my experience, painting seems to be easier to get back into than writing. There is a creative link there, though. As I nurture one output, my inner landscape begins to deepen in colour and tentative but glorious rainclouds streak the idiotic oblivion that’s been troubling my sense of self. A conversation with a friend; an observation in the market; an idea begins to form.
filling Station’s poetry magazine arrived in the mail yesterday. It grabbed me where I lay, pinched me by the nose, compressed my chest and breathed life into me. Good old reading. Today I bought a novel (Nostalgia) from the CBC Reads 2017 list, though I’ll wait for my mom to buy hers so we can read it together. I’ve never read so few books in my life as I did this past year, which I blame on working full-time, doing a post-grad certificate part-time, and wedding planning. That literary absence ripped open a horror-hole somewhere in my psyche where my intellect used to be, gathering dust and inane Pinterest projects, transforming post-wedding into a thick bourbon-y mud.
But June! I got through June. It seems to be the month I’m most likely to lose my marbles. Jacob even suggested long ago we choose a different month for the wedding, but I’m a believer in turning bad luck on its head.
These are my words for those with little creative sprouts that dare to poke their heads out of the nuclear-cratered crust of a dry spell:
- Read at least one good book. Preferably fiction, poetry, or anything that takes flight from the reality you’ve been chugging along in.
- Carry a little notepad and pen to notate observations and swirling thoughts. Alternatively, you can use Twitter for this mini-habit if you’re comfortable with a public platform.
- Triangulate your methods. Paint, draw, go to an improv event, write a song. Go to other people’s art shows, music shows, plays (it’s Fringe Festival for the next couple weeks, there’s lots going on dudes!), and what have you. Catch some inspiration from your peers.
- Rework an old project. You might see it from a new perspective. If anything it will get you going long enough to kickstart good habits.
- Be serious about making solo time, and be good to your right brain by leaving your phone at home or in another room.
- Make your psyche a hospitable womb. Try to de-stress by creating rather than relying on television, drugs, or alcohol.
This list is as much a needed reminder for me as it is words of wisdom for anyone who cares to read it. Sending out good vibes to all the creators out there, may it be a bountiful summer.