Friday, June 22, 2012

Creative Angst is Straight from God

"Once I saw a little boy sitting at a piano and vainly trying to bring harmony out of the keys. I saw that he was grieved and provoked by his inability to play real music. I asked him why he was unhappy, and he answered, ‘I can feel the music in me, but I can’t make my hands go right."
From The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles
This is just how I feel sometimes. No, actually I feel this way a lot. I so understand this “creative angst.” That gap between what is in my minds eye and what actually appears feels absolutely intolerable at times. It can be the spacing between letters on a graphic, the phrase that doesn’t quite capture what I want to say or how I want to say it, those proportions in a drawing that just aren’t quite right or too much salt in a dish I am cooking. Even more insidious is the large project. The hems and haws, the ideas that don’t all fit together in a proportional manner. Sometimes I just can’t seem to quite map out how it’s all going to go and it leads to spinning my wheels.

It makes me curious how people create. How much is planned out and how much evolved out of the process of doing? I asked a novelist friend of mine. I felt safe asking her, I've known her since we were sixteen. “How do you start writing a novel? It seems like such a momentous task?” She said “You start with a main character, a place, a first scene and sometimes a theme.” “Really? That’s all?” I was shocked that it isn’t all planned out.

I shared this with my step daughter Ella. She agreed with my friend. “Well, yes,” she said with absolute certainty “the writing is when the story is written.” She said it with so much matter-o-factness I couldn't help but palm myself in the forehead.  

I really love what Wallace Wattles continues to say in The Science of Getting Rich. 

"God, the One Substance, is trying to live and do and enjoy things through humanity. He is saying, 'I want hands to build wonderful structures, to play divine harmonies, to paint glorious pictures. I want feet to run my errands, eyes to see my beauties, tongues to tell mighty truths and to sing marvelous songs.'"