42. The Need for Mist

I considered for this past couple of days if I should undertake a new creative project, or expand the drawing project I already have. It feels as if my creativity lacks something, so that’s why.

I have spent a lot of hours thinking about this, while shopping, going from A-B or just thinking.

At one point I thought I was ready to say yes and expand my project portfolio, so it’s a private graphic novel, the occasional novella and … something else.

Something of … more ‘scope’.

That’s how it felt like.

But when I sat down to get started today, I froze.

I didn’t feel right starting anything new, and not just because Jay is due in 3½ months and ready to occupy the next 18+ years of my life. Not just because of that.

So then I started about just expanding my private graphic novel (or comic book if you will). The one I sketch a little every evening, purely for the love of it.

But again I froze. I couldn’t think of a way to make it have more ‘scope’ that I really felt right about.

Not working more or faster, or sharing it more, or adding some extra text parts to it which – in principle – would be faster to do. Maybe some kind of diary outtakes for our main character or whatever, shifting the scenario or story big time. I dunno.

I just didn’t sing.

I should be frustrated. Considering how many years I’ve already spent looking for the ‘right creative project’, trying stuff and throwing it out.

Here I was, after only 4 months of ‘peace’, doubting it all, trying to rework it, trying to shift gears, expand, throw something or all overboard.

And only a few months before I become a father and have to work at my company and need bloody stability on all fronts. As much as bloody possible.

I guess when you are blessed or cursed or whatever with a mind like mine, and maybe yours, which wants to express itself like this, then it comes with the territory.

If you feel like drawing, writing, playing music, telling stories and just can’t help yourself and maybe you are good in more than one genre or format, well … then it’s an occupational hazard:

Doubt. Attempts at reworking.

Or desire: Wanting more. Wanting to start on something Bigger.

It’s not good, obviously, this ‘hazard’ if not controlled or disciplined. Then it can destroy you and your dreams.

Like an eternally procrastinating, eternally perfectionistic ex-friend of mine who has now talked about writing a book for 20+ years and hasn’t even started.

I started, 5 times+, and failed. With a book, a novel. But fair enough.

I tried.

And I feel I’m getting better and disciplining and channeling my creative impetus and using it where I am most capable, like producing live-talks about historical persons who fascinate me, or writing novellas.

Or drawing a little story just for myself, just to get meditative every evening.

Add in the occasional role-playing game, but also just for fun, for friends. Nothing more.

The live-talks are the most serious, and profitable. They are also, in many respects the most difficult to do.

I have to research hundreds of hours, draw and Photoshop slides, structure it all and rehearse it. Rinse and repeat, if I get a new idea. So far I have Joan of Arc, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Columbus and an Inca princess.

And I have more ideas. Each with a story, in words and pictures and told by me. Live.

I may not be a good novel-writer, in fact I am most definitely NOT … but I can finish and deliver stories. Tell and sell. Words and pictures.

I guess it not just comes with that hazard, the work of storytelling, of going overboard and on a wild goose chase and wasting time chasing bad ideas.

It also comes with a learning, a developing of sensitivity to which ideas deserve attention. What are their causes – motivations?

Did I want to expand, for example, because I felt I wasn’t ‘cherished enough’.

Because so few see my live-talks, relatively speaking, Because even fewer read my novellas?

Because nobody reads my graphic novel?

Did I – again – want to be seen? Lauded?

Was that the real motivation behind wanting to do something creative with more … scope?

I am not sure, but it feels like I skirted dangerously close to that motivation, excusing it with everything else.

And wanting to be seen is the worst motivation to create art. The worst of all. It can and will destroy you.

And your art. Whichever comes first.

Especially if you feel you  are not ‘seen enough’. Never enough.

And few people feel that:

Like it’s enough.

Like they have been seen enough.

Recognized.

Lauded.

Applauded.

Some of that desire is healthy enough. We all need some kind of recognition.

Not necessarily in all endeavours of life, though.

And it’s a slippery slope.

I think the desire for more ‘scope’ was born of that little devil of ‘more’. The devil that wanted to be ‘seen more’.

And I think this was affirmed when I had lined up to get started expanding my creative projects, had all the right arguments – and then just collapsed.

Because inwardly I knew all the other rationales, motivations, I had also lined up … they were not good enough.

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe I really want more fun, more ambition (in a positive sense), more sharing, more writing – in my creative doings.

Maybe what I do right now truly is not enough.

Maybe I am missing a big chance – my last chance – to get something started before I almost will have no time at all for anything, and less space (in my head). When my company takes off and earns me that money. When my child is born.

Maybe I’m making a mistake not throwing myself out there again and just continuing with what I do, mostly under the radar.

But in that case, if there is truly Another Big Story I need to tell, or just A Bigger Story in what I am presently telling … then they will reveal themselves in time.

Why should my Soul keep these stories under wraps, if they are like the air I live and breathe? If they are the fire of my spirit?

But if it’s just my devil speaking then he can keep his good advice.

*

While fame impedes and constricts, obscurity wraps about a man like a mist; obscurity is dark, ample, and free; obscurity lets the mind take its way unimpeded. Over the obscure man is poured the merciful suffusion of darkness. None knows where he goes or comes. He may seek the truth and speak it; he alone is free; he alone is truthful; he alone is at peace.

– Virginia Woolf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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