I’m reminded this morning, by Debbie (who left us a comment here last night) about something we talked about during the Creative Connection event. While on stage, our panel of entrepreneurial women, spoke about lots of subjects, near and dear to the creative heart; sharing our experiences with anyone out there wrestling with such things as mental blocks (as in running out of creative gas); we talked about mistakes we’ve made that turned out good after all; about how, as creative people first, we dealt with the business side of what we do. I recited a quote at the end of the discussion that went like this…
Because we were talking about how lonely writing and painting with deadlines can be; and how each of us handles the ups and downs of it. How thrilling it is (for me) when I’ve painted something I like, thought of a good story, or found the perfect quote to say what’s in my heart; but there’s also hunkering down, waiting for the next inspiration that seems to take years to arrive. It can be frustrating, and no one can really help you out of it. You know how it feels when you have what seems to be an unsolvable problem! The only way to it is through it; it’s truly a part of the creative life (the life we’re all creating everyday). I’ve grown so accustomed to these “down” times, that I call that blank space where nothing seems to be happening “the foundation for the creation” — I think my brain is working on it, even though I can’t see anything going on.
The girls on our panel talked about being so engrossed in our work that sometimes we didn’t take showers for days. I knew that happened to me, and I was so HAPPY to see them all nodding in agreement. Hard to believe, they all looked so clean and cute!
The first time it happened to me, I was working on my first book, I had just sold it to Little Brown and they’d given me six months to finish the other 112 pages they requested. I lived alone, it was winter, and I’d been wearing the same “outfit” for three days, sweat pants, t-shirt, old sweater, scruffy slippers . . . because I was driven, excited about what I was painting and writing, and it was coming so quickly, I could hardly stand to go to sleep at night. I went from bed to art table. And back. It was really good I lived alone.
I ate, standing up, in the romantic ambience of refrigerator light, chicken leg in hand. Wipe off grease, dry hands on pants, run back to paint brush. Very Very Bad. Hair was unspeakable. I felt like an overcooked fava bean.
The third night, the phone rang, it was my best friend Diana, calling from California. She wanted to know how I was doing. “Oh Diane, I’m so glad you can’t see me! I can’t get away from the art table; it’s going good, but I haven’t had a shower in three days, my hair is in strings, I’m disgusting.” I went on and on, poor poor pitiful me, branching out into weight, number of cigarettes smoked (because, yes, I did) and glasses of wine imbibed.
And darling, wonderful, dearest Diane said. “Hey! Do you think Picasso smelled good when he worked?”
And no, I sure don’t think he did. Wasn’t that the PERFECT thing to say? That’s what I mean about girlfriends. ♥ How could we live without them.
After I mentioned that quote at the end of the panel discussion, someone came up to me from the audience and said, “Maybe if we all light a great bonfire and all throw ourselves in, it might light up the whole world and never be dark again.” I fell in love with her immediately.
OK, Girlfriends, taking my book (A Redbird Christmas) off to ride the bike in the exercise room here in Madison, Wisconsin …. we get back on the train this afternoon. Bye for now! Say Hi to everyone for me. WILLARD starts going out tomorrow! ♥