Monday, August 11, 2014

Creativity & The Black Hole (RIP Robin Williams)

These black holes seem the best metaphor for where I am right now. This has happened to me before as I am sure it has happened to most other creative people. After going full tilt for a very long time with my art work, I hit a point this past week where it all just stopped. I packed up my projects and put them away. I have come to a complete standstill.

The first time this happened to me it scared me. I've lost count of how many times this has occurred at this last date though. What is happening is that my creativity needs a time out. I have drained it by expending a tremendous amount of time and energy. Thus, I hit a point where it was gone, that is the ability to envision a project and put it together from beginning to end. I call this the creative black hole. I will come out of this I imagine because I have always come out of it before. Usually some new project gets me going and it may be in an entirely different medium. I have no control over what will emerge on the other end.  I cannot force it out before its time either. And I assume that at some later point, near the end, it won't come back at all.

Meanwhile, I just putter. I look at books and magazines about other media. Today I was looking at an artist who paints in thread. The work was quite lovely and I especially liked the variegated threads. I was then looking at the supplies for it on eBay. Does that mean I will do this next? I have no idea. I'm just looking. Yesterday Rebecca and I stopped to see an art show and I was just looking there too, rejecting some things as utterly not me but intrigued by others. I liked a crazy creature sculpture made out of wood, metal and felt best.

Another analogy I can make is that I am like a fallow field in need of crop rotation, shown above. If you remember your social sciences and history, when farmers kept planting the same crop year in and year out, eventually the soil got so depleted that it could not grow that same crop one year. They discovered they should have been rotating what they were planting so they did not keep depleting the same elements in the soil. I have been also skipping any art rotation and so now I am depleted.

This is not an state of being to lament or tear one's hair out in frustration. It is a period of renewal and rebirth potentially. I almost look forward to these as I am generally a bit more well rested during such a period and am able to catch up on lots of novels and other entertainment.

I am also still swimming and I've learnt my vision is twice as good in my right eye as it was a year ago, before my first eye surgery.

So all is ok and I await what happens and emerges next.

RIP to Robin Williams who died today of suicide by asphyxia due to hanging. This photo of Williams was taken last month during his last ditch attempt to address his addiction and depression problems at Hazelton in Minnesota. He looked very frail and subdued. He was 63. He has left a large legacy of work and apparently could just not go on living. I plan to immediately start watching some of my favorites of his again. Today's entry on the black holes of creativity seems an ideal place to position this. Unfortunately, the greater the talent, the bigger the black hole one can enter. Depression and creativity are all too commonly closely linked although little understood even now. Some favorite scenes of him are below.

Williams had also been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which meant that his ability to discharge all that frenetic energy was disappearing as the disease claimed progressively his speech, his movements and his brain. Depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, Parkinson's, divorce..... Suicide is not looking all that unpredictable after all. Maybe his hospital stay in Minnesota was about all of these problems with few if any remedies for any of them.

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