Monday, August 3, 2009

A Creative Itch

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Do you get little warnings before you about to enter a new phase of your art? In some instances, I experience signals that are difficult to describe, but I sense that something is coming ‘round the bend. It’s vaguely similar to that feeling when you are really busy, then become aware of your stomach even before you know you feel hungry. Or, maybe the instant you know you are going to sneeze before you actually do sneeze. Or, fragments of a dream that hover on the edge of your consciousness, just beyond reach. There, but not there. Promising to come within reach, even while fading.

That’s where I am at the moment. There isn’t so much as a ripple on the surface yet, but underneath there is activity. There a change coming. I am not certain where I am going, much less why. It may be a move so subtle as to be almost imperceptible, or it may be an abrupt shift. It may arrive full-blown one day—a fait accompli, or it may emerge only as the germ of an idea that takes a months, or years, to mature. It might start strong in one direction, then suddenly veer off in another. Let’s face it, whatever this is, it could start as a blast out of the gate, only to fizzle out to a big, fat nothing. I have no clue where this is headed. But, something seems to be brewing.

I’m curious about others. Do you get these warning rumblings? Maybe you are more prone to sudden shifts that come out of the blue. Or, is slow steady growth more your style?


  1. I do get these 'feelings' that something is about to happen or that I have something 'big' that I have not yet figured out how to get at. I don't know if will be a shift in thought or a change in direction of my photography; however, both are probably linked, as a shift of thought or perspective usually leads to a change in photography or seeing, even if I don't realize it. Of course, I cannot see this change unless I look over a large number of photos and, even then, I cannot see it if I am looking for it. It's one of those cool paradoxes that I like so much: If you seek it, you won't find it. If you grasp it, you can not hold it. If you let it go, it will stay.

    I've since given up on understanding paradoxes, but I do know that they work, even if I am not the greatest student. All that I can say is that the change will find you whenever you are ready. From time to time, I'm able to put my shovel down and stop digging. It is only then that the answers bubble up to the surface.

    Last bit of philosophizing, and I like this one best: Can you allow your muddy waters time to settle and let things become clear. I do a lot of thrashing, causing all sorts of mud to remain stirred up. When I stop my seeming endless thrashing, then surprise, surprise, there are the answers.

    Or, it could be a lot of psychobabble!

  2. You described this feeling so well, I could relate very well to what you were experiencing. I do not if I relate that so much to art, or more to my life in general. You know something is coming, something is changing--an intuitive piece of us, if we listen to it, chimes in and lets us know something is going on that we aren't really aware of.

    Yes, to answer your question, this happens to me as well--sometimes for a few months before the change actually happens, almost like lingering in limbo....and then there you are, at a new crossroads.

    Glad to be following your journey here, Anita--thanks for sharing.

    Mary Ann

  3. My process is far more conscious. I chose what I want to photograph, pick new experiments in how to do it. The results can be unexpected but that leads me to new ideas on where to go next.
    Always I'm driven by a desire to improve and learn new things. Sometimes improvement can even be creating more consistency.
    I never get the feeling you describe that there is "something out there", I'm far too rational thinking for that.

  4. Funny that you should post about this as I was thinking about this very thing the other day. I have experienced it, it isn't an overwhelming slap in the face, but rather a subtle feeling that are on to something - don't stop moving in that direction. Perhaps that feeling is one half of the brain shooting signals over to the other half?

  5. Yes, I experience these moments and I find these are the very times I need to be quiet, listen to my inner voice and go with the flow--I'd hate to miss what I'm about to be told/shown and if you try to force it you'll perhaps ruin it.

  6. I think I experience it similarly. It's not that I'm not noticing the change, it's there but I'm not acting immediately. Kind of a scary moment, what will happen... I’m not acting until I have built up some comfort to embrace the change. Perhaps I’m preparing unconsciously for a while before getting aware and starts to prepare consiously. When I'm finally ready, the change is made with frenetic energy, as if nothing else in the world matters. :-)

  7. What a wonderful collection of thoughts.

    No, the cat didn't get my tongue after I posted this, but whatever is brewing (along with a couple of other distractions) kept me busy for a couple of days. At first, I was bothered by that. After all, I asked a question and got a stack of fascinating replies. Where was my response? I was close to being agitated and, in Paul's terms, stirred a up bit of mud for a while. Then, I listened to the good advice within all the comments, settled back, and let the thoughts percolate in my little pea-brain.

    @Paul - If your observations amount to psychobabble, I think we could use a good dose of psychobabble every now and then. As for the muddy water, I'm a champ at that thrashing business.

    @Mary Ann - I'm with you. This applies to my life at least as much as to any creative expression, and it sometimes does feel like being in limbo. It's a joy to have you along. Thanks.

    @ Martin - Thank you for balancing this out with the rational aspect of this. I can relate to everything you said, but have to admit that I am not as certain as you appear to be. I'm afraid my emotions too often interfere with my rational side and that bugs me. I have resigned myself to the fact that the seeking of balance will be a lifelong task for me.

    @Mark - Yes, that subtlety is what can be maddening. Thinking that you may have heard a whisper, but not being certain. Something you can almost remember. A movement you think you saw out of the corner of your eye. I like the idea of one half of the brain sending signals to the other. I look forward to seeing what you are up to next.

    @Earl - Oh, yes, be quiet and listen. There are times for me when I may as well ask myself to climb to the moon. Patience is indeed a virtue, and all too often I come up short on that one.

    @Ove - I like the notion of getting comfortable with the change before we take any action. I suppose that is what is happening. We are about to make a shift and we start making the preparations internally before we even know exactly what change we are going to make.

    @All - Thank you for shedding light on this and sharing your experiences. It's times like this that I think back on my original ambivalence about starting a blog and wondering if it would be "just a waste of time". (Yes, a year ago, I really did have that thought.) I have learned that sharing the journey makes it a richer one.


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