|art by Jamie|
Right now, I'm studying a lot for the GRE, which isn't at all creative, but creativity is the end result. It's the very first step to pursuing a Master's degree in creative writing, which is something I've been tossing around for a long time. My undergrad degree is in literature, so it's up my alley, but also a huge challenge because I've never actually seen myself as particularly creative. We'll see where it goes. Like Wendell Berry says, I'm trying to be willing to make a few tracks in the wrong direction.
I'm also always conjuring up stuff for my blog, or writing posts for other places. I try to art journal regularly as an additional creative outlet. And I facilitate discussions and meetings for Doubters Anonymous, which definitely has a creative element to it that I enjoy.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I'm not sure that my work has a genre. Basically everything that I find myself creating these days comes out of this intense experience I've had with doubt and how it has transformed me, whether that's manifest through writing, or art journaling for myself, or running a little support group. I guess I feel like my work right now is raising my son and living my life in a truthful way, following all the rabbit holes I feel compelled to jump down and letting them lead me where they may. So far, they have led me to just be present and honest here in the midst of doubt and spirituality and mystery and see what happens. And I don't hear a lot of people talking about doubt in the way I have experienced it. I don't see a lot of people exploring and embracing it as a spiritual practice and sharing that perspective out loud. So I guess that's what I have to offer.
3) Why do you write/create what you do?
Mostly because I can't not. Writing came knocking on my door and just wouldn't let me breathe until I got the words out, specifically when it came to my doubts, which then freed me to write even more. It's kind of a never ending circle where the more you're processing, the more you have to write, and the more you write, the more there is to process. So art journaling and Doubters Anonymous followed quickly after that, because I found I needed a private place to wrestle through my questions more abstractly, and I also felt compelled to provide a safe place for other doubters to wrestle through things together. Who is it that says, "Write the words you most need to hear?" I guess I am creating the things I most need to have, and trusting that others out there have the same needs.
4) How does your writing/creating process work?
I wish I could say I was more disciplined, because every one says creativity is about showing up and sitting your butt in the chair. I am very fortunate that our current lifestyle does not require me to make an income. So my creativity is largely driven by my own inspiration, which mostly comes on walks or washing dishes or playing with my son, and then drives me crazy until nap time or bedtime when I can finally get the words down. I do generally make a practice of setting some deadlines and schedules for myself. I'm a slow, meticulous writer, though, so I try not to overcommit and to leave lots of room for life to be lived.
More than anything, I just try to be aware of the life that I'm living and to keep my eyes open for new insights into the things I am processing, whether that be through books or blog posts or conversations or my son curling up in my lap. Life itself usually gives me more than enough inspiration for any of my creative endeavors.