Creativity and love

December 16, 2005

Dear Rodney,

This morning Rita E. Acuna of Philadelphia, PA, wrote: "I think
I would have preferred not to be gifted with creativity. I had
found a true soulmate. He was a pilot, a man of high intellect,
who wrote the most extraordinary poetry for and about me. He
could communicate and share his deepest thoughts and feelings
to me. And I lost him. I was careless, my fault. So sad. I
would appreciate your thoughts as to the selfishness, demands
and impracticality of being creative in a practical world as it
relates to the great loves of our lives."

Thanks Rita. Good question. I don't know enough about your
particular situation to know whether it was your creativity
that caused your pilot to take off--but I do have a few
thoughts on the dark side of creativity. Many of us are focused
to such a degree that it's easy to become inconsiderate of
others. After all, the sun rises and sets on us, doesn't it?
Sometimes it's the "law of opposite effect"--sensitivity,
believe it or not, can breed insensitivity--a rotten thing for
the near and dear. Fact is, art-love competes with human love.
And art-lovers can drive their significant others to drink.
Serially.

The good news is that it's not either/or. Many of the
successful creators that I know tend rather to keep their
creativity bottled up. This way it doesn't get on other's
nerves, and it may also be good for the muse. While it's all a
wonderful riddle, quiet, creative action should be the main
currency. This leaves plenty of time for being nice. Both
personal art and human relationships can be mystical unions
that exact the highest of standards.

My advice is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Being big in art need not mean being small in life.
Historically, many artists have left trails of hurt and fields
of broken dreams. But these "enfant terribles" with all their
rough edges may be an outworn myth. Rita mentioned "selfish,
demanding and impractical." In my books art doesn't have to be
any of these. Actually, it's the flip side--unselfish,
undemanding of others, and dedicated practicality--that make us
the interesting and attractive folks that we are. For those who
would venture into the wonder of art-making, it's important not
to confuse the valuable "child-like approach" with common,
garden-variety immaturity.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "The heart of creativity is an experience of the mystical
union; the heart of the mystical union is an experience of
creativity." (Julia Cameron)

Esoterica: Rita's cup bubbles over. "Every day I'm reborn," she
writes, "because of the creative process and the use of its
gifts. Every breath I take, every sight I see is a miracle to
appreciate and enjoy. It renews the creative spirit that plays
within my soul and being." Brilliant as this sentiment is,
sometimes it's difficult for others to live with. Personally, I
think it has to do with "art envy,"--something I've been
meaning to discuss with Sigmund Freud. It's pretty hard to beat
this all-encompassing joy. "Creativity," says therapist Eric
Maisel, "is the gift that keeps on giving."