Having a fulfilling creative life is not exactly the easiest thing to do. I try to make it a focus, employ discipline with myself and my practise, engage with ever broader groups of audiences and partners, do all the things you do to make it a continuum rather than a collection of isolated expressions and inspirations. But in their very natures, creative pursuits can seem to be a bit stop-go.
As with all such endeavours, when it’s ‘Go’ you can imagine life should always be like this. What were you doing, wishing things would fall into place when all that was missing was a bit of get up and go?
In all honesty, I think a little bit of guilt about something isn’t an entirely bad thing.
What can be a bad thing is when that guilt overwhelms you during the ‘Stop’ periods – even the briefest of them can leave you in a deep chasm; a deep chasm where neither can you remember how you managed to create the synthesis of language, emotion and sound that so satisfied you when you were ‘going’, nor can you envisage a time when the happy result will ever occur again.
Meanwhile, the things we try to put out of our minds with varying degrees of success – the emails sent to funders and potential collaborators, the brown envelopes stuffed with your most precious pinnacles of poetry precision dropped into red pillar boxes with the Queen’s head opening the doors of editorial offices – have lives of their own without us, and are waiting to make us feel better.
This happened to me on my birthday last weekend. At least three years ago I walked in to Glasgow to the Thirteenth Note to be the subject of a documentary. A friend of mine was completing a film apprenticehip with GMAC, and had been briefed to make a short documentary exploring artistic process.
Of all art forms, writing is perhaps the least dramatic, especially on a visual level. If you write, you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t, it involves a lot of sitting about, sometimes with lots of words being written down, often with none – a lot of re-reading and some head scratching and pen chewing. Picasso seducing a naked muse in his riviera studio it aint.
But Iftekhar Gafar, an Afghan film maker living in Glasgow chose to make it his focus. We spoke for a while about writing, techniques, about where and when I was in the habit of writing; I read a couple of poems, and then I sat down, wrote a poem and drank a glass of wine.
That was pretty much that, and it became at first something I was interested in seeing the end result of, then something about which I wondered whether there was an end result, and then something very much in the past, a memory I could recall but which never came near the forefront of my mind.
Until last weekend, when the end result was posted to my Facebook timeline as a birthday greeting. It’s nice to see it, and I think the team have done a good job of a tricky task they set themselves.
What do you think?