I admit it. My life is a mess. Literally. My studio is always cluttered, my car is always dirty. I don’t eat right or exercise regularly or sleep normal hours. I eat way too much chocolate. I’m always late, for everything, no matter how hard I try. There are always things left undone, loose ends never tied up, bills that should have been paid last week, errands overdue.
I’ve quit making New Year’s resolutions to try to mend my ways. They’re simply my ways, and that’s all there is to it. Who’s to say there’s anything wrong with them? Let someone else live in a spotless house, drive a pristine vehicle and tick everything off their organized little checklist every day. I’ve got more important things to do.
I’m one of those weird creative freaks of nature. It’s who I am, it’s what I am. I didn’t choose it; it chose me. When I’m overtaken by the creative muse, I am 110% consumed by the force. I pursue my creative endeavor to the exclusion of everyone and everything else. Food is uneaten, living space is uncleaned, obligations are unkept.
It’s not my fault.
Blame my muse. Yes, I’ve got one. Every creative soul has one. Anybody who thinks creativity doesn’t flow from a greater source than one’s self suffers from extreme narcissism. I am at the muse’s mercy. I am the conduit and when the energy flows it has its own life, it’s not mine to direct or inhibit. When I attack a creative project I’m not doing it because I need to do it, or because I want to do it, but because I must do it. I don’t have a choice.
It’s an impossible concept to explain to anyone who hasn’t sat awake for 24 hours with a paintbrush, pen or instrument in hand, never noticing the passage of time, nor being touched by fatigue or hunger. The creative force provides everything necessary to sustain its servant, until finally cutting them loose into an exhausted and famished but sublimely satisfied vestige of themselves; a husk, a shell, physically depleted but spiritually fulfilled. We often step back from the work of art, or written words, or musical composition that has manifested itself on the once-blank page, and think, ‘okay…how the hell did I do that?’ And we never have a really good explanation; at least not one that would stand up to logic.
Nobody else ‘gets’ it. Well, nobody except a kindred spirit, another soul equally stricken with the irrepressible drive to create. To them, no explanation is necessary. They understand instinctively, because they are spun from and connected to the same source. When we find each other, it’s a communion of souls. An automatic, instant connection on a level far below the threshold of ordinary awareness.
We know how to reach into those hidden depths. We know highs and lows and nuances and shades that mere mortals can’t fathom. It’s our blessing and our curse to experience greater joy and more profound sorrow, for to surrender to the muse is to reach for and lay open the deepest parts of one’s self.
The rewards are great, but the muse is a harsh master. So when my refrigerator is empty, my house is cluttered, my car is dirty and I totally forget that I promised to meet you for lunch, kindly remember that it's not my fault. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.