Creative Cult

The Tree

Where does your creativity come from? What inspires you to write, dance, paint, or play music? What is that spark, and how does it come to be?

Last Sunday, I participated in a Shamanic journey. The facilitator — a wonderful woman with a light soul — explained that she cannot schedule these journeys on a regular basis because she has to wait until she, herself, is inspired to take the journey. Once undergoing the journey herself, she in turn schedules the same journey to facilitate for others.

Inspiration. Where does it come from?

Through my many years (past years) of writing, the overwhelming consensus of published writers offering their advice, is that inspiration is a myth; or rather, the need to be inspired before creating is a myth. Through hard work, due diligence, etc. etc. creativity will flow and there is no need for this slacker’s excuse of inspiration.

I get why published authors push the inspiration bullshit line. I really do. Most writers barely write because they are waiting for that divine moment, and that is a no good state of affairs. One must write if one wants to be a writer.

I wonder though.

Obviously, in my past I wrote even when inspiration was but a flicker. I am not talking about the non-fictional writing I did as a journalist (which is often times lacking any sort of anything resembling inspirational); rather, the fiction that I delved into and explored.

Between the time I graduated college and today, I have written six complete novels. I’ll also throw in the novel-length fanfiction I did back when HP fanfiction was The Thing To Do.

Seven then, seven complete novels.

Of those, I would say there were hints of inspiration in all of them. Even the romance book I wrote in an attempt to “f*cking get anything published for f*cks sake,” had a bit of inspiration to its story line.

I am not going to go in to the whole FAILING MISERABLY thing… but, it does make me wonder about the creative process and being inspired. There is writing and there is Writing… just as there is music, and then there is Music.

Etc. Etc.

Is inspiration the defining line between the two?

Back to my Shamanic journey. For many, these journeys are powerful and can be life-altering. Me, myself, I always feel like what happens is 80 percent bullocks and 20 percent of something True. But that my is my logical self talking, and my logical self really dislikes anything mythical (though, adversely, understands the deep importance of Myth).

However, for many, these journeys are religious in context and in importance. Is it true and right that my facilitator waits until she is inspired… I think so, actually. But then, it makes me wonder if art (and as a consequence, the influence of art), should also be contingent on inspiration.

I don’t know, obviously, just a thought for today.

What do you think?

On Letting It Kill You

The Suncapped Mountain

The pianist James Rhodes inspires me.

I have his blog entry in The Guardian saved to my favorites. Every few weeks I go back and reread it; remind myself of what true artistic passion looks like, sounds like, is.

Sometimes his words inspire me.

Sometimes they are a terrible reminder of what I am and have become.

Passion. What does it look like?


“Admittedly I went a little extreme – no income for five years, six hours a day of intense practice, monthly four-day long lessons with a brilliant and psychopathic teacher in Verona, a hunger for something that was so necessary it cost me my marriage, nine months in a mental hospital, most of my dignity and about 35lbs in weight.”

He let his passion bring him to the brink of death.

And then let it save him.

Thanks in part to Oprah and her bigger than the universe presence, there is a lot of buzz about finding your passion and about finding Your Purpose in life. The result is an interesting tension between a need to find Purpose, and the realization that searching for Purpose is not how one does it.

What makes you fire up in your fingers? Makes your heart beat a little faster?

Those are supposed to be the guiding signs of finding Purpose. The problem I have found, and of those friends I have talked to, is those indicators only work if you have stripped the bullshit far enough down to even pick up on them in the first place.

So much bullshit.

Even Rhodes, who’s passion took him down the dark path, worked for years in corporate muck before shoving it all off. His passion is obvious… but only in retrospect.

Ah, retrospect. The 20/20 vision of looking back on our lives. The irony is always so obvious. We are so obvious.

While talking to my friend the other day about twin flames (a new interest of mine), she made a comment about being your whole self. This is a lovely thought, bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together, but what does it mean, and more, how is it done?

For Rhodes, music is a piece of his soul. A hugely important, all encompassing piece. He denied the existence of that piece into misery.

Isn’t that what so many of us do as well?

This then is the question; what are we denying?

by Jem Salmon

The path of finding a whole self is a twisted one, often walked upon in the dead of the night when no moon shines and the stars are lost in clouds. We trip. We fall. We skin our knees and cut our palms. And then we get back up and keep walking. Every once in awhile the light shines through, the sun glimpsed through the murk, and we see the mountain ahead, glimmering white and snow capped… the mountain that we still must climb.

And in the beauty that is the mountain, the glimpse of our future weighs down at our already tired feet, leaden legs, bowed shoulders, and though it glimmers in the sun, the prospect dogs our steps.

And yet.

And yet, we keep going. Because there is hope, I suppose. A promise of something so incredibly right that all exhaustion disappears.

One of the things I have read lately about this twin flame idea, is that according to legend, we spend lifetimes becoming whole before we can even exist in the same realm as that other soul. We must go through it all… the dark forest of our lives ala Brothers Grimm. Then we arrive.

And what we can do changes the world.

Is that the reason we walk on?

Finding ourselves. Passion.


Changing the world.