Monday, August 13, 2012

Chapter the Present, In Which I Ponder the Peculiar Demise of My Creativity

This here is a blog I started back in aught-six. If you take a look at the archive, you’ll see that I had all kinds of neat, if totally inane, things to say for a couple of years there. Then the shit hit the fan. My ex and I separated in 2008, I was mostly unemployed, I started going to school full time, and I stopped doing anything creative for fun. No writing, no drawing, no photography, nothing.

In retrospect, it occurs to me that my early blogging frenzy was basically the still-flapping tail of the dead squirrel my marriage had become. It’s a cruel joke that Mother Nature plays on dead squirrels and marriages. They may be roadkill, but for a good long time their damn tails keep right on flapping cheerfully in the breeze, pretending nothing has changed. When no one’s around, that wiggly bit of fluff is just as limp and dead as the rest of the flat old carcass, but it insists on waving gleefully at each passerby. Vvvvrrrroooooom! “I’m okay! Thanks for running me over again, and be sure to check out my next blog post in which I will make pithy observations about anything but this stupefyingly dismal and humiliating personal experience! Wheeeeee!!!”

Over the past few years I have gotten divorced, moved three times, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with distinction, watched a couple of my employers close up shop just as I was ready to get back into the writer’s market again, struggled to find other freelance work, worked my ass off for months, and saved a little cash only to watch it disappear again during subsequent months of unemployment. Oh yeah, and I’m uninsured, which at least makes me feel a little like one of the Flying Wallendas. Look, Ma, no net! I seem to be working my way through one of those lists of stressful life events just for shits and giggles. It is entirely possible that there has also been a death in the family, but my head has been too far up my own ass to even notice. Uncle Amos has been awfully quiet lately, and I don’t think I’ve seen him blink in years.

But from adversity springs creativity, right? When life gives you crap, you make crap cakes. I’ve certainly got plenty of time on my hands, so I should be using it to write short stories or to build scale models of famous architecture out of toothpicks or carve presidential likenesses into giant blocks of butter. But I have nothing to say, no poignant statements to make. Instead, I stare at a blank computer screen or repeatedly make and erase random pencil marks on hot-press Bristol while my brain rattles around in my cavernous head like a BB in a tin can. I obsessively check job listings. I do laundry. I wipe countertops that are already clean. I extract pet fur from my laptop keyboard with tweezers. I flush the toilet just to watch the water go all swirly. Heh-heh! Swoosh!

Where does creativity go when it dies? Do I need to keep tanking marriages to get it back? Because that would really suck for everyone involved, and I don’t think I’m up to the task. On the bright side, however, this absurdly self-absorbed post has managed to shove my sorry ass past the flashing cursor. Maybe that’s a start.


Anonymous said...

All I can tell you is that dry spells happen--I've had a doozy and my life is relatively bucolic. But firing up the blog and seeing what your fingers come up with isn't a bad idea. Free your digits and...?

kimberlina said...

oh man. the blogs. hope the meditation has been helping! the 10 minute sleep #2 episode zonks me right out.