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You Are Not Creative Pt. 2

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With the rise of my blogging career (you're free to laugh at that), I've come to realize that there's little I want to discuss which does not involve creativity. It's surprisingly complicated and misunderstood. I think that's why most people either a.) give up on their dreams when they involve being creative or b.) never consider themselves "creatives" in the first place. My husband is in the latter group. 

The concept as a whole seems draped in this fake fog, which I blame the entire industry for. Just like how successful people don't like discussing their failures (thus making their road out to be easy), creatives don't like being honest about the real process of creating. We like shiny things. We like people thinking that every inch of our brain is made up of nothing but beauty and inspiration.

But you want to know the dirty secret? 

It's nothing like that.

Almost everyone I've explained my creative process to has acted shocked. Like it's a surprise that I don't pump out songs with every intense wave of emotion I feel, right in the moment I feel it, with tears in my eyes and swells in my heart, as every word rolls off my tongue like honey. 

No.

(And no, not every creative can live in the city, no matter how much they want to, because cities are expensive and art is under appreciated.)

It's more like I walk around with a notebook for months, read books and highlight anything that hits me, and sit down by myself one night, praying to God I can create anything that doesn't make me turn my nose up. 

And yes, this process has gotten easier over the years. But only because of one very important thing that nobody wants to admit:

Creativity is a muscle, and you have to exercise it. 

You have to write 100 songs, sift through them, and come out the other side with only 2 worth exploring further.

You have to fill 5 notebooks with thoughts and emotions and completely disregard them if you're lucky enough for inspiration to strike. 

Because just like you can't wait to be motivated to do work, you can't wait for "inspiration" to create. Inspiration is a fickle, passionate lover. And if we know anything about those kinds of lovers, it's that they're unreliable. 

And if we wait, we get stale. We get cold, depressed, and no longer feel as deeply as we did. Because humans are supposed to create without motivation, and some of us are acutely aware of that. We've seen parents and friends settle into lives and jobs they never wanted in the first place, and we use that as our inspiration, because we know that no matter how bad the stale moments get, it's sure as hell better than the alternative. 

The moments you slam your head against your keyboard, not able to find a single word in the wasteland that is your brain? Worth it.

The spiel you've pieced together over the last three holidays to explain to family members "what you do with your time"? Worth it. 

Every cold, winter night you've driven home from a photoshoot, gig, or coffee shop (where all you can afford is the small coffee), with only $20 to show for your time, and are so exhausted you can't even cry? Worth it.  

The moment you're on the floor, surrounded by papers, with nothing to show for your 3 hours of songwriting? ...Worth it. (I have to convince myself of this one sometimes.)

So no, we are not professional creatives because we have a God-ordained gift that is only given to the chose ones. We are professional creatives because we've had the stamina to push through the bad moments, when others gave up.

If I could give you one piece of advice, it's this:

Don't rely on inspiration, it'll fail you ever time. Rely on your human need, it will always be there.

On Finding Yourself... In the Bizarre

Cool Beans Coffee Roasters, Marietta, GA

Cool Beans Coffee Roasters, Marietta, GA

The sky is dusting snow over Georgia, and I sit in a warm coffee shop facing a window, watching it fall. The snow has always offered a solid level of comfort for me; I expect it's due to how it reflects the state I'm in on a daily bases. Melancholy and hopeful. This kind of weather always makes me want to write, so here we go. My reflections over the past week: the bizarre ways one can find themselves.

Story Time

Enter: A virus. The kind that gives you a fever and the chills at the same time, making it impossibly to do anything comfortably. The bastard.

Enter: Myself. 14, hipster, lover of poetry and other pretentious things. With a pile of blankets over me and a stack of used tissues beside me, my teenage hormones were officially in full drive and causing me to hate everything and everyone. I could just see the coming monday's headline: Teenage Girl Suddenly Dies From New Virus... Parents Said Was "Just a Cold". (But seriously, I could not have been the only one this dramatic at that age.)

I was on my 3rd or 4th day of impending death at this point, so I had worn out my options of entertainment. Then I remembered watching a review of an anime a few days prior. Before this I had only seen a few episodes of one anime, so I wasn't ultra exposed, but I had at least a few more hours left to live, and this "Ouran High School Host Club" thing was on Netflix, so I took the chance.

And it was amazing. Funny, overdramatic, a kaleidoscope of storylines that gradually exposed the motives of all of the characters. It was everything I knew I loved, but brought forth in a medium I would have never guessed. 

And so I fell in love. Since that day I have watched over 60 anime (many multiple times) and don't plan to stop any time soon. 

Oh, and I didn't die.

But until a few days ago I never knew why anime had captured me in the way it did. After all, it doesn't exactly align with my other passions (music, literature, etc.). But then I saw a webcomic that brought it into perspective. 

The comic compared getting a tattoo to painting a house. When you rent a house, you know it belongs to someone else and you won't be there long, you don't paint the walls. But when you own a house, you treat it like it's yours: you paint the walls. Even though getting a tattoo and discovering anime are not related at all, it still struck a chord with me. At the time I was hanging around hipster musicians. They all loved foreign films, poetry, and taco bell, and although I like all of those things (and still do), they weren't mine. I actually remember not telling most of my friends about my new found love for a few months.

Anime was me painting my walls. It was discovering and loving something because I love it and for no other reason. I pinpoint it as the moment I started becoming comfortable with who I was and stopped participating in things because it was expected of me. It has done me so much good, even if the paint is made up of big eyes, bright hair, and dramatic monologs. It just goes to show you how much is in the world to love.

With that said, here is a list of the top 10 anime that have helped me paint my walls:

1) Fruits Basket

2) Ouran High School Host Club

3) Beyond the Boundary

4) Princess Jellyfish

5) Howl's Moving Castle

6) Red Data Girl

7) Soul Eater

8) Attack On Titan

9) My Little Monster

10) Kamisama Kiss

What unexpected things have you painted your walls with?