Recently, a young friend of mine asked me at the tail end of an email for my thoughts on creativity and spirit. I thought, “You have got to be kidding.” But I wrote back and asked if she wanted me to do a blog post, or could we save it for a conversation when I see her at Christmas (desperately hoping for the latter). She hasn’t responded, so here goes . . . .
I have written before about the importance of being in the moment – or putting yourself back into the moment – when you’re writing. That seems to me the only way to achieve authenticity, to re-experience things, events, people, or conversations in a way that will reach into the reader so that she can see it, feel it, experience it in a new way. That’s the kind of connection writers always want to achieve, because it is truth-telling at its deepest level. Spiritual teachers point to this “being in the moment” as connecting to the Divine . . . although there are plenty of great writers who are atheists!
But “spirit?” This is a word with far too many meanings, and I have no idea which meaning my young friend was referring to – and I’m afraid to ask her until I see her. Concepts like this are too difficult to pin down in an email.
Do we create only when “the spirit” moves us? Or do we sit down every day in front of the computer just like going to work? Where does that going-to-work discipline come from? Surely we are driven by something inside, be it ambition, egotism, the desire to connect with other human beings, anger at the injustices of the world, revenge, the profound love of the sheer beauty around us, despair, divine inspiration or just the simple desire to see our name on the marquee. Whatever it is, it flows through us . . . and will not be denied.
Personally, I have difficulty defining what drives me, so for convenience sake I’ll call it “spirit.” Hope I’m not stepping on too many toes here!
I expect this post to rouse up a few of my readers to comment – let’s get a conversation going. My young friend will certainly be one interested reader.