I used to find it odd that the words ‘creative’ and ‘pursuit’ are so often seen hanging out together. I find ‘The pursuit of excellence’ sits easier with me. ‘Sporting pursuits’ too. More recently however I’ve come to see the sense in pursuing creativity as it doesn’t seem to hang around waiting for us.
Apart from the times when I’d been given a definite brief by a client I could sit all day reading books or watching the box waiting for inspiration to come chase me off the sofa. It rarely happened. In fact I can probably say it never happened.
I would busy myself with my life and then snatch a couple of hours with my camera and stress about what to point the thing at. It all became very sticky and led me to that place of creative crisis that is all too commonplace today. Not quite ‘all the gear – no idea’ it was more ‘all the gear – no ideas’!
The Muse wasn’t doing her work. She wasn’t chasing me down and whispering words of inspiration into my ear. It was her fault I used to think! When I was a youngster she walked with me as I trod the local countryside every day and I felt constantly topped up with stories. Musing on this I got an inkling of what had changed and set about seeking to right the wrongs of an adult life hard lived.
Inspiration sits opposite expiration and we all know what it means to expire, to pass our sell by date! So perhaps inspiration can be taken to mean ‘to live’? Could this be the clue to a creative life, simply to live? Being out there where stuff happens, tasting the salt tang of the sea, feeling the hum of moorland wind or lying back in a meadow bursting with a million sunrises.
Now, for me, pursuing creativity means chasing the Muse. No longer waiting for her to come to me but rather actively seeking her out and putting myself in places where she can easily find me. After sitting at my desk for a while and getting nowhere I’m now writing this on a hilltop on the edge of the moors and the words are flowing. I’ve had a brief wander down the lane too and taken a few shots of new birch leaves and gorse flowers.
Meet The Muse at the Edges
Life is inspiring me. That which is all around me if I but get out of the four walls and stretch my eyes to the beautiful horizon for a while. Perhaps we meet the Muse at the edges, when we change the scene. Could this be where she waits, her raven black hair blowing in the breeze as she stirs a cauldron of ideas merged with magic and passion.
A creative practice regularly pursued leads to unknowable treasures but it does take work. A getting up off one’s backside, a donning of boots and a stretching of weary limbs maybe. However it may just be the best way, the only way to ensure we meet our Muse halfway. I’ve a feeling that’s all she asks, ‘come meet me on the crossways by the old hawthorn and see what I’ve got for you today’.