On Being Creative
What is this endless quest to create? Is it to share me,
or you, with anyone who will see?
Am I driven to make something beautiful so that I can hold it out in front of me, like the bow of a ship, and follow after as it cuts through my fears of who and what I am not,
What I am?
If you see beauty in what I have created will the same be seen in me?
Can beauty be birthed through the ugly and unworthy?
All is gift.
I think that if what I make in my brokenness and shame can be lovely how much lovelier if I were the beloved?
No more or less, before, now or forever.
I was born the beloved and I will die the beloved.
The only question is will I live as the beloved.
Will my creations remain a cry for affirmation or will they be an exclamation of the joy born of the union of the lover and the beloved?
Surrender, surrender, surrender.
The cry of your heart,
echoed in the deepest place in mine.
This is something that I wrote to God just before going to a conference of creative people called "Hutchmoot". It is an intimate gathering (only about 150 people) of musicians, writers and visual artists put on by Andrew Peterson and the Rabbit Room staff since 2010. I was really struggling with why I was going and what I thought I might get out of it.
I have felt the need to create since I was a child. It seems to me that this drive was always colored by some external pressure. As a child it was pleasing my father who was a successful painter. I believe he thought his "critiques" of any drawing or painting we brought to him would help us become better artists but for me they only created a sense of not being any good if he couldn't just like them. As I got older and realized I did have some talent for art, I also realized that other folks were more easily impressed with what I could do. My creative attempts became fishing trips for affirmation. As an adult, with the need for income driving most of my endeavors, I tried many ways to use my art to that advantage. Without the immediate fulfillment of sales my efforts were, at best, sporadic. Bronze casting is a rather expensive undertaking and I couldn't really afford to build up the needed body of work. It is only in the last 10 years or so that I have been able to find some sort of balance between the financial need and the the desire to create for its own sake.