Sunday, March 6, 2011

Balancing Creativity with Practicality

One of the most interesting things about this journey, called life, is the process of creativity. It never ceases to astonish me. There are moments when an idea will come to my mind, whether it is a story, song or poem; and it will come to me (or rather through me) in its entirety. All I have to do is get-up-out of the way and it will pour forth, as easily as a rain drop down a windshield. In those moments, I know that I am not creating the work; but rather allowing the work to come through me. I am but a vessel.

Case-and-point, on Thanksgiving Day, I was driving to my mom’s home and Joss Stone was crooning in the speakers. One song contained the words “color me.” Instantly, a completely, different song flowed over my lips. A brand new song that was ready to be birthed. I knew I needed to stop my vehicle; pull out a recorder; and get the song down before it got away from me. I also knew that if I did not stop at that moment, the song would be lost.

That’s when the internal battle between the Creative me and the Practical me began. The Creative one wanted to stop and the Practical one wanted to arrive on time to Thanksgiving dinner. The conflict between these two parts of me is a constant and frequent occurrence.

My challenge is finding the balance between the two. Both parts have their merits. The Creative one produces the work that feeds my soul and when I share that work; it feeds the souls of others. The Practical one keeps the order in my life that allows me the luxury of making my work as an artist, my vocation.

It is my firm belief that the reason I have been able to work for the past 17 years as a professional storyteller is because of these two parts of me. My Creative self is the visionary, who is always looking toward the future and asking, “What if?” My Practical self is the pragmatist, who is always in the present moment and asking, “What’s needed now?” My never-ending challenge is to nurture both parts me by giving amble time to each.

On that day travelling to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to settle the conflict by compromising. I recorded the song, as I was driving (Don’t worry. It was a hands-free recorder.) and arrived on-time to dinner. Unfortunately, when I arrived at my mother’s door, the song was not complete. The hook and one and a half verses and were done, but I knew there was more. The Practical part of me won by reasoning that the song was nearly completed and could easily be finished later.

It took a few weeks before the other half of the second verse was created. Several months later, it still feels like it is not yet completed. What is the moral of the tale? Hmm, good question. I am not entirely sure. I do know if I had to do it over again, I would have stayed in the vehicle longer to finish the song and risk being late for dinner. Surely, mother would understand.

p.s. When the song is completed, I will post the video :-).

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