We often think of artists, whether painters, actors, writers,
musicians, dancers, et al. as endlessly creative. However, I submit that in
spite of being engaged in singular creative endeavors, artists can be as dry as
numbers on a page or prairie grass in a dust storm.
Regardless of having a reputation for being mostly right-brained,
artists may have creative tunnel-vision. In order to balance and feed art it’s important to draw from other sources.
Indeed, the right brain and left brain are housed together and operate in
concert with one another. It’s a joke among actors that dancers and singers make terrible actors
and vice-versa. It could be argued they have poured too much into one skill
set. Well, we can’t all be Ben Vareen or Michaelangelo.
Contemporary novelist Elizabeth Gilbert took a break from writing and
developed a love for gardening. She credits that pursuit with inspiring her
novel, The Signature of All Things. Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, a.k.a.
George Sand, the nineteenth century French novelist, loved nature and in
particular, bird-watching. When she felt depleted she left the bustle of Paris
and retired to the country for periods of time to nurture herself. Painting was one of the creative outlets Dante
Gabriel Rossetti, the nineteenth century English writer, explored.
Members of our Columbia II Writer’s Workshop practice law, act in plays, consult and teach among other
things while also producing memorable writing.
In her recent Columbia II
blog, Kasie Whitener spoke of finding
inspiration while traveling, specifically in airports. Some of what I consider
my best work came while in a hospital waiting room. Sometimes by stepping away,
stepping out your “writing-comfort zone”will yield surprising results. Step away from your computer or
notebook. Please step away from your hand-held device. Be present. Use all of
the tools that make you a writer.
It could be as simple as hiking, applying paint on canvas or as
challenging as learning a new language. Did I forget to say you don’t actually have to excel at any of
these things? It’s simply exercising unused muscles to make all the other muscles work
They say that you become old by not trying new things. It’s also true that your art can become
old and stale. Your art is all of who you are, what you see and experience. It’s not just the talent for stringing
together lovely sentences or carving an exquisite bowl or photographing the perfect
sunset. It’s all of
who you are and what you do. Enrich yourself. No Johnny-One-Notes.