Creativity and Consumption: Part Two
On Wednesday, we spoke about consumption, so as promised, today we will talk about Creativity.
Have you seen the latest Zane Lowe and Harry Styles interview? In it, Harry wears a necklace that looks like it’s from Lovisa, but most probably wasn’t it. This is of course beside the point but, I must admit, was distracting at times. I also wondered if his jumper was itchy, again not the point.
Besides these sartorial distractions, I find the interview engaging and insightful. Part of this has to do with Harry, but I’m sure a large part of this can be attributed to Zane. This article is worth a read.
Anyway, at one point in the interview Harry said something that has stuck with me ever since. In regard to talking about making the stuff he wants to make, he says, (and I’m paraphrasing from memory…after watching this six days ago…) there’s this thing in the industry that if you do this and get here and then this and on, we go, then eventually you can do what you want. But if you just do what you want, then you are doing what you want.
Let’s put the freedom brought about Harry’s millions aside here. The guy’s got a point.
Whether you can live off this creativity is something else entirely, and perhaps not holding on to this so tight, for your livelihood is a part of the key. Even as I type this, I feel myself pulled in two directions. Part of me feels that we should love our work and that whilst somethings can be reserved as hobbies, not all your passions should be saved for the hours outside of working hours. Especially when work takes up so many of our hours. On the other hand, I see the benefit and freedom of not feeling creatively connected to your work. But loving your job and that job being deemed creative. Well, that’s something else entirely and I feel like I have assumed that if people have creativity in their jobs, then they are more likely to love it. Clearly, I don’t know this for a fact. I am writing from a position of bias. The bias being that I assume people love creative work, or that’s the work they desire.
However, I am getting waylaid about creativity and work, when really, we are looking at the process of creativity itself. And perhaps I have made the biggest assumption of all, that we need to produce something tangible from this creativity.
I seem to be talking myself out of creativity entirely. Who needs it! I must be honest; I’m amused with myself. I am completely fascinated by the creative process. Mainly because I am constantly trying to figure out how people go about their daily lives, or build their daily lives with creativity, if not at the centre of it, an incredibly large focus of it.
If we are to break it down. To be creative is simply to create. I’m a genius, I know. And I know that creating a garden bed, even a clear patch of dirt free from weeds can scratch the same itch that causes people to be up all night, trying to mix a colour and translate it on to canvas just so.
I wonder if all people who feel a desire to create allow it to occupy their thoughts. Perhaps it comes down to personality types, more than the area of creativity. But then, does this mean that some personality types are more pre-disposed to want to create?
I’ve previously mentioned that I love those articles that focus on the routines or processes of creatives. That term itself seems quite strange, but let’s go with it. Not long ago, one of my favourite writers, Hunter Harrisoutlined her writing process. Unfortunately, it’s a private post but essentially there’s a lot of not feeling like writing, a lot of thinking that what you’re writing is rubbish and then the writing. It sounds painful, but not unfamiliar.
The Creative Independent is a new-to-me but excellent website that sends out interviews with different people in all sorts of creative industries. The occurring theme is the large occupying space their creative work has in their life. And some of them are doing what they want, and some are making sacrifices about what they want in their creative life, but then in other areas of their life too.
A few years ago, I told my therapist that I was worried if I started writing then I would never stop. Life would cease to exist as I knew it. And that was partially true, but I didn’t mean it in some way that I’d never eat, but that I wouldn’t have dinner ‘on the table’ in the same way. And at that point in my life, that seemed unimaginable and messy.
In part, I think that’s completely gendered. I mean even the phrase having ‘dinner on the table’ is gendered. I spoke about it with my partner, and he was kind of shocked, like that I expected that of myself, because he didn’t expect it of me. But I still couldn’t see it, that if I wasn’t getting dinner on the table, how would I eat? And there have been nights where I have written and written and I ate whether through him cooking or take away, but it still feels like a big ask each time. Like it’s not a habit. The habit is having dinner on the table. And it’s not just about eating dinner at a set time, because I don’t and when we eat together, we don’t, but it’s more about carving out time to be creative. To do what you want. Because I just don’t feel like it’s compatible with my life all the time.
Even though I think about this newsletter for far longer than I get to work on it each week. I once read that the first draft is done by the time you get to putting things on paper, your mind does the first draft. I can’t remember who said that but, the amount I ruminate on this thing, many drafts are done (not that you can always tell). But I make the commitment to put it once, twice a week regardless. Because I still feel that in my version of creativity output is important. Because writing is important. As we’ve discussed. I cook. But I’m not in the kitchen feeling all ‘Barefoot Contessa’ about my life. Like you’ll never see me on MasterChef saying that’s what I pictured when I was sitting at my desk or whatever.
But I do picture this. Writing that is. And perhaps that’s the creative pull. And not only do I feel pulled in a million directions about what a ‘creative life’ (I know, I hate me too for saying that) but I feel pulled in a million directions because I very rarely feel present at any one thing, because I day dream about the newsletter, I think about work and how much more I could be doing, all the time and then I think about how everyone else makes this work.
And reality is, they probably don’t. Recently I was speaking to my sister about Elvis. And I was saying that Elvis can’t have been a great guy on the street, an amazing husband and present dad because he was being the greatest rock and roll star on the planet. And that’s just how that is. I think about actors on film-sets all the time and how Lady Gaga has insomnia and in her documentary looks like she’s in pain a lot of the time. I think about how I want all my students to explore their creative pursuits, to relish them and explore them to the fullest potential, and then how I mark them against a criterion, and expect them to be creative during certain times of day. All these things just don’t add up.
And it’s not to say, if you didn’t care about work, and you didn’t do overtime, and you were practical in all elements of life (like love, money and alcohol) that you wouldn’t question how it is you’re going to exist amongst the mess. Not that I can relate to this, because I constantly question this.
But maybe in the middle of all of this, we can just do what we want. Like Harry said. Beaded necklace and all.
I’m only kind of kidding.