Monday, July 20, 2009

I Have Nothing Else To Do

Before I start off, I want to thank you, my fellow creatives for taking time to read this incomplete post. I ask for your forgiveness and patience if you pick up any incoherent of my writing. I’m not my usual self lately and I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on! This post is part of my search.

I have wanted to write about a particular workshop experience for a long while. But I was fearful that I would either turn myself into an idiot or appear to be an arrogant bastard. However, from the various degrees of frustration and puzzlement I picked up from a few of our fellow creatives, I began thinking deeply about my writing and this one particular workshop experience.

About two years ago, I enrolled in a one-day writing class called "Finding Your Voice". (Not singing, but writing voice! And thank god you never hear me sing …) The tutor and participants were all passionate about writing and were generous to offer each other critique and support. I had learnt a lot from them and gained confidence in my writing. (I’m sure you can tell there’s a “but” coming …)

But there was one “reaction” from both the tutor and participants which left me with bewilderment. As usual in a lot of writing workshops, participants are invited to talk about the reasons why they write. It was no different with this one. I gave the usual plus one specific reason: Because I Have Nothing Else To Do. As soon as I made this statement, the entire class laughed. I was taken aback and felt like an idiot. I was pretty sure they must have thought that I was making a joke. I can’t remember exactly what happened afterward. Probably I babbled a bit and let the thing trailed off.

Lately, though I’m experiencing tremendous frustration of maintaining my creativity, I still hang onto my story writing for exactly the same reason. Let me say it again: Because I Have Nothing Else To Do. I’m not sure how you’ll take this … hopefully you don’t laugh. But I also don’t want you to have the wrong idea that I’m showing off my determination to be a writer and hence undermining your effort in pursuing your art. I’m simply stating a fact of my life.

Now for this “nothing else”, it could be viewed in two ways:

1. Our duties / responsibilities / obligations to our day job, families & friends.

2. All sorts of activities which we do for fun / relaxation / filling up our spare time.

And when I say I don’t have anything else to do, I'm not only talking about the responsibilities and activities. I'm referring to what I want to do with my life at this stage.

You might think that by identifying the above, my frustration should cease. Oh, no! Far from it. I’m actually thinking it might be part of the problem. As I’m still pondering and planning a separate post on it, I’ll stop here and ask my fellow creatives a few questions.

- If time and money is not an issue (OR) if you have unlimited time and money, would you still write / draw / sew / knit / create? Why?

- Is there anything else you want to do with your life other than your current art form? Why?

You’re all welcomed to respond to these questions as comments in this blog (OR) you could write a post as respond in your blog. If you choose the latter, I would appreciate if you could let me know so that I could hop over and read about it.

Til then … have a great day!


Caroline said...

Oh you ask great questions! As being newer in my photography craft, I will say I love it. It fills my soul. So funny, a year ago I didn't have a camera... My husband bought me a camera as an anniversary gift. When I got behind the lens...something amazing happened. My life has changed because of it. I do wish I could make a living selling my photos (maybe someday) but I can't imagine not taking pictures.

So in regards to art forms, I think this is it for me (for now anyway). It brings me such joy!

Valerie said...

I was never asked 'why do you want to write' when I went to writers' group so I never gave it much thought. In answer to you're question 'would I still write if my time was unlimited... yes, I would. It's something I enjoy doing whether or no. My other interest takes up a lot of time, but it stimulates my creativeness.

Holly said...

Here's what I'm coming to learn about this whole writing or creating and passion thing...anything that you allow to have that much importance, after a bit, begins to lose its glamor because we fee it too much...because the spirit's goal is to learn balance and harmony, when we spend to much time in one area, so that other gifts become stunted, other abilities begin to atrophy, our spirit turns off the love light on the thing we desired most....

Feeling out of inspiration? Feeling out of a willingness to do it? Feeling depleted? Most likely the sign that it's time to put that down and go do other things.

Yo fill your cup of experiences back up, and suddenly you have tons of stuff to write about, draw, paint, share.

Just my thoughts though...

Kavindra said...

I may be misunderstanding, but let me give you my impression.
I think it was just the wording that made people laugh in the class - to me, it sounds like a joke too. "I have nothing else to do" sounds to me like, "oh, I have alot of free time, so why not write." Something that would sound kind of ironic perhaps.

In actuality, what it sounds like you mean is "there is no one thing in the whole world I would rather do than write, and no other thing I feel more called to do." Do I have that right?

I often find that when I say things in all seriousness, people laugh and think it's a joke, because I am generally funny. Maybe that was part of what happened?

In response to your questions tho, I actually am in a situation where time and money are not an issue for me now, and yes, I do write still. I feel weird and incomplete if I don't.

But, the second question? I would have loved to been born without a writing gene - I'd rather be something more concrete and useful like a doctor. Given an artistic temperment, I would still prefer to be a visual artist. Writing feels like torture to me alot of times. I feel compelled to do it, but I hate it as well. Not always, but honestly, most of the time. (sob)

Holly said...

Kavindra, that was very well said and quite revealing and generous!

WrightStuff said...

The answer to the first question is without a doubt yes. It's the need to make money to live that stops me doing all the creating I want. For me, writing is a long-held ambition. My blog is helping me feel fulfilled in that sense, even though I don't have time for the novel. What has happened though is this huge outburst of creativity where I've rediscovered all the fun of a paintbrush! I can't wait to get home of an evening and start making stuff! I regret all those wasted years lolling about watching TV!
Second question - yes, I would love to travel but it would be a creatively inspirational journey - food for the imagination and spirit!

Don't think too much - just sit and write and see where it takes you!

Leone said...

Very interesting questions. Most of my time is my own, I don't have limitless funds but enough to be comfortable, and I still create.
Sometimes I wonder if the idea of creating and buying supplies is more fun than the actual creating. I often wonder what my life would be like if I didn't create stuff and I think I would be very bored but would something else come in to fill the void - something I haven't thought of?
Is there anything else I would do with my life? I have wanted to be a teacher since i was a child and I am still drawn to teaching, I think about teaching art sometimes but I need to improve my own skills first.
This really is a soul-searching question and is about what your purpose or destiny is. Do you love to write, do you have to write to be happy, is it a NEED rather than a want? Interesting!

Kim said...

These are great questions. I had a similar experience. I was asked in front of a room full of people "Why do you sing?" and I answered innocently & honestly "Because I can't do anything else." Laughter. It has been something with which I feel both blessed and cursed. I've loved it and hated it and I've had to accept a certain degree of loss. A virus partially paralyzed one of my vocal cords several yeras ago. But, sing on I do. During those frightening months when I wasn't sure I would sing again I wondered what I would do - I knew SOME artistic passion would have to take it's place. It is simply part of who I am. I can't do anything else :)

Hybrid J said...

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your wonderful comments / answers to my post. I'm contemplating on all your responds to help me with my search. As soon as I start making further sense, I'll write up a post as my respond to your kind and encouraging words. Also to "report" ;) about the search. So stay tune ...

Til then, diving deep again into the abyss ...

miruspeg said...

A few posts ago I wrote a piece on 'Follow your dreams' which you read and commented on.
I feel it applies to this post. I thought Kavindra's comment explained very well why the people laughed at what you said. I am sure they would be devastated if they realised they had hurt your feelings.

Your honesty and openness is to be applauded Hybrid and I answer a resounding YES to the first question because without using our creativity it would be a very dull life.

Your second question is an interesting one to ponder upon. I only started blogging/writing a year ago so there must be many other things I haven't tried that I would be very willing to experience and would bring me much joy.

As George Eliot said "It's never too late to be what you might have been". Carpe diem (Seize the day).

Take care

KnittingJourneyman said...

Oh, honey--I SO get what you are saying. I also really fail to understand why anyone laughed. I am sure several who laughed were thinking, no I get that, but everyone else is laughing so I have to too.

If time and money were no issues, I'd write. Time and money are issues and I still write. Everything else I do--the knitting, the drawing, the collaging, one way or another it all goes back and informs and invigorates my writing. It all helps me be a better writer. My writing does not necessarily help me be a better knitter or painter or Yogini or anything else...other than maybe a more sane less volatile person....
I write because there is nothing else that means so much to me. I do everything else when I hit walls and I need to recharge and because sometimes when I get stressed there are so many words I need something else to open my brain and allow me to stretch out so I have the space to let the words come so I can write....
Writing is more than who I's what I am...and I have nothing else to do.

Hybrid J said...

Hi Peggy & Tabitha,

Thank you for your comments and support. I'm pondering on all replies and will be writing up a post to respond.

Stay tune and have a wonderful day!

Mike Smith said...

I find I can express myself better by writing. I love my two daughters and two grandchildren very much and I try to tell them this every time I see them. But sometimes the words don't come out properly! They always do when I write them down, though.
I really enjoy your blog - it's an excellent read.


judi said...

I have been painting all mylife becasue I wanted to. I becamae a profesional at age 34 and painted like a maniac until my husband passed away unexpectedly and my life crashed. It took 3 years for me to start painting again.. and i did, like i always has.manic. The last 3 yers i hav come to realize"
I painted for applause and acceptance for many years, competitions, commissions.. and not for myself. When that desire faded I found myself just "thinking about painting" and you know what..its okay.I stumbled on Wreck This Journal doing random blog browsing and this journey has opened up the kind of joy I felt about creating when I wa a child
There is a time ;; for everything. I am on a very limited income, suffer from chronic pain and depression.. but I know this is again MY TIME//

Give yourself permission to just be who you want to be
and yes when I paint its because i need to.. and sometimes i dont need to

Hybrid J said...

Hi Mike and Judi,

Thank you for sharing your creative experience and supportive advice. It is appreciated.

Contiuing to ponder on the subject and hopefully will be writing a follow-up post in a few days' time.

Stay tune ... ;)

And Mike, if you could leave me your blog / site address so that I could visit you. It's always nice to make new blogging freind ... :)