“So, there you are, telling somebody all about this awesome book (or song) you’re working on, and they are smiling and nodding, and you take that to mean tell me more, so you do, and then you realize ten minutes later the smile has not changed and the nodding is still at the same pace but the eyes are now frantic, and they have reached their limit for being polite, and they’re wondering how to escape this black-holed vortex of you called a mad genius because they don’t understand you at all in the least bit and there you are, seeing the truth and shutting up and saying, ‘So, how are YOU?'”
I wrote the above as a FB post one morning after starting, writing, and finishing a song, planning my next book, thinking about another book I’m working on, getting an editing job, and making a cheeseburger pie and chocolate coconut macaroons — from scratch…all in the space of four hours.
The thing is, I did all that while alone. They are each creative activities in their own fashion.
And creatives are often alone. They need to be alone. Thinking up original stuff is hard work. For those who’ve never done it, they can’t understand that. But it is, without doubt, a difficult thing to do well and consistently.
The reason is because every part of your body is involved, from brain to muscles to blood to heart. These are drained of energy time after time after time, exhausting your vitality while feeding your soul, yet if they are not drained, they kill you because their energies need to be drained.
Sometimes that draining process — also known as output — scares people. What you come up with. What you produce. All alien to most people. What to a creative person is a perfectly logical question is to a non-creative abnormal and something to cause concern.
I was thought of as abnormal my entire life by everyone around me, from family to community to friends. I was never around people who understood the creative process and mindset, and if I was I was removed from that lest I not be controllable. People were afraid of me and because they were afraid of me, they tried to control me.
The control — and attempts at it — lasted so long that finally, after years of hiding my true self and not being true to God-given traits, I could not hide anymore and I burst forth in public and said, “That’s it. I’m outta here. I’m gone. I need to be alone.”
And in that aloneness I found my fellow creatives, and now we are alone together in this crazy trip called “making it all up.”
Now, when people ask me what I’m doing or want to do, (completely excepting those people in the first paragraph), mostly I get these types of replies:
“Cool. I know somebody else who…”
“Awesome. Let’s do it together and…”
“Dang. That’s good. What are you…”
And the validation and encouragement of it all is all worth it. However much you are alone, folks, it’s all worth it if at the end you can say, “I did it. I was true.”