Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Courage in Creativity

my first painting in ten years
Let's face it: it takes some guts to create, to create anything! First and looming large in the consciousness, there's the knowledge that I have the chance of creating something stupid, or faulty, or just plain negligible. Then there's the always-present possibility that I could be laughed at, mocked, or--worst--ignored. And then what if, as I undergo the process of creation, I am changed? What if I become different somehow than I am now, and what if I don't like myself so much then?

Right now I'm beginning work on a novel. It's going to be based on my childhood  in the very conservative Christian homeschooling movement, and on my experiences 'coming-of-age' in the Real World. Deep down, I feel impelled to write this book, no matter how long it takes me to write, no matter who I offend, no matter what the end product looks like. But I must admit I'm petrified.

the wise fool who speaks in riddles
Baggage. That's what I've accumulated in my 27 years on earth, and I'm going to have to open some of it if I write this book. I will have to face some deep church-related wounding within me--years of control, boredom, frustration, and most of all, effort. And as I intend to spend a lot of time listening to others who have come from the same background I will have to face their baggage too. There is much that is beautiful in my background (and my family was outstanding) but much that was twisted and ugly too. I'm afraid of the pain that I'll have to weather in exposing all this to myself and then, through my book, to the world.

Fear. What I have to say isn't all positive. I have no desire to write an expose, but if I'm going to write this book, I'm not going to tiptoe around everyone's 'sacred cows'. Because more and more I am convinced that there isn't any point in me writing anything if I cannot be true about it. I'm afraid of what others will think. Even to the point of pondering a pseudonym. But why would I publish anything of which I'm not proud?

fighting the dragon
More fear. What if, after all, I'm no good and I can't really do it? What if I talk about my novel, research my novel, make a few half-hearted stabs at my novel, and in the end have to acknowledge that anything I have to write isn't making it through the veil, that my craft is weak, and that I should after all stick to writing articles on hiking trails and restaurant cuisine? What if I fail?

I'm sure I could extend this list, and I think in future posts I will explore each topic separately. But for now I want to share my current conclusions. I must trust. I must trust that I was created with a big enough gift for communicating what I simply must say. I must trust that the passion building within me has a purpose and an outlet, and that others will really want and need to hear it. I must trust that if I embark on this project it will someday come to an end, a beautiful end, though possibly different than I intended. I must trust.

What is one fear you face when you create?


Laura {a spoonful of joy} said...

I can definitely relate... I love to write stories but it takes so much courage for me to let even my own family read them!

Leslie said...

Good and honest thoughts. We still fight dragons, don't we? You can and will do this thing, and if the road is long and bumpy and even a little (or a lot)scary, it will still be better than sitting still and silent all your days :-) Write on!

Omenvoir said...

I am a firm believer in facing down one's fears and past pains, as a process of personal growth and healing. What better way to work through such issues than to write about it? Writing is therapeutic. It gives us, as introspective human beings, a tool with which we can work through a variety of issues in a concrete fashion. And if it happens to help others in the process, then it's icing on the cake!

Oh, and you'd be surprised how many people feel *exactly* the way you do - both my wife and I come from a similar background. I was a pastor's kid, in fact, and have run into a surprising number of like-minded people from my generation who have expressed a lot of the same pains, guilt, and personal growth stemming from such a childhood. Besides our common background, the other thing we all seem to have in common is our relative silence on such issues. We quietly live our lives, grateful for the good our upbringing has taught us, and fearful for speaking up on the bad. Guilt is still such a strong part of our makeup.

So yes, please do write it - primarily for you, but know that what you say speaks for the rest of us, too.

P.S. Greetings from your newest student! :)