This post has been formatted to reflect an original journal entry.
A cool, rainy afternoon and the end of a busy week. The highlight: seeing Lindsey Buckingham live in concert. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned previously that Fleetwood Mac is my all-time favorite band. Or how over the moon I was (and I was ridiculously giddy) to be able to see my favorite guitarist up-close-and-personal. Lindsey Buckingham. Y’all. He’s so electrifying. To watch him perform Big Love sent a terrific wave of shivers up my spine. New songs were fantastic, too. And, his recently released solo anthology is an indispensable collection. But, enough swooning. Because I clearly still have stars in my eyes…
Came across a quote of his that, though simple, was quite provocative and got me reflecting on my own creativeness:
I’ve always believed that you play to highlight the song, not to highlight the player. The song is all that matters. – Lindsey Buckingham
The sentiments resonated immediately. As writers and bloggers, we work similarly. Focus should be on the work. Always on the work. Making the work meaningful, impactful, substantive, polished. Able to stand on its own. But, how easy it is to focus on myself sometimes. To want to publish only those pieces that feel comfortable. That minimize my own propensity to flinch, the anxieties of experimentation, of tapping into one’s own visionariness.
And, I’ve noticed two things happen: 1.) the more original my work seems (to me), the more uncomfortable, on one hand, it makes me, and 2.) the more I feel intuitively that it is somehow right. I know instantly when a poem hits the mark. When I’ve delved and refined and tweaked and rearranged until my sensibilities tell me it is as it should be. But, if I detect inauthenticity in my own voice, a trying too hard, forcing an idea or an image that doesn’t reflect the full breadth of meaning I intend to convey, then everything in me rebels against it. All wrong. I usually pick it apart and harvest the good metaphors for later use.
A related observation: I have an exceedingly difficult time writing poetry for poetry’s sake. I want to, or need to, write a poem isn’t proper motivation for me. Voice meanders. Rings false. Manufactured. Something I can feel very forcefully on an intuitive level. Rather, I have to have something to say. When I have something to say, my inner voice leads. Creates out of its own momentum. Musicality follows naturally. Images pour from one into another. Like letting my subconscious do all the footwork. A generative process. That’s when good things happen. That’s when I can let go of a work despite its imperfections, knowing that I still have so much to learn. Because my intuition tells me in a swift, unhesitating sort of way that it’s right. It just is. At least, for now. And, I don’t doubt it.
Another thought: I must always feel I have a great deal more to learn. A notion I’ve carefully considered. And, not because I have a perfectionistic streak. (I do.) But, because of a sense of my own potential. There are moments in which I can sense very keenly that I am capable of a great deal more. When I am driven by a desire to work to the edges to my talents. Because I believe it’s possible. I can almost see it. These moments are usually brought on by the joy of creation. Little ecstasies. When I revel in a sense of my own possibility. (Is it an illusion? A mini peak experience? A byproduct of being an outlier on the openness to experience scales?) A sobering undertone: I have so much more to learn.
Additionally, I don’t really think of myself a poet. I’m just me. Working at what comes naturally. But, wishing—always wishing—very powerfully to do something different. Something that someday might be considered visionary. Because I crave something different. I feel restless in that way. Sometimes, I really do envision the world, including the literary establishment (and a great deal of mainstream music, too), as I expressed it in Flo On, as a stale word. Tired. And, I’m tired of it. Its sameness. Why I love interacting with other bloggers, indie authors, and creatives. Those with wild hair. I have to create, if only for myself, that proverbial shot in the arm. To write what I want to see written. To be the voice I need to hear.
A concluding thought: I tend to view my own creativity through a holistic lens. Just as Maslow suggested it (I’ve been busy re-reading parts of The Farther Reaches of Human Nature as I eagerly wait for my copy of Motivation and Personality to arrive).
Anything that would help the person to move in the direction of greater psychological health or fuller humanness would amount to changing the whole person. This more fully human, healthier person would then, epiphenomenally, generate and spark off dozens, hundreds, and millions of differences in behaving, experiencing, perceiving, communicating, teaching, working, etc., which would all be more ‘creative.’ He would then be simply another kind of person… – A. H. Maslow
I’m just me. And, because I am fully engaged in the pursuit of being just me (not an inactive state by any means), “poet” follows naturally, as do multiple other roles, states, and behaviors. A question: is the reverse, at any time, possible? That is, can I use my creativity to actually change myself? He’s suggested it. And, based on my personal experience, I certainly believe it. Perhaps, the key is becoming a certain kind of person first. That is, one must have reached a level of being at which one’s creativity is an adequate, even desirable, tool for fostering growth and self-development. Yes. That sounds more like it.