For every creative person out there, the exact method that creates ‘ping’ moments of magical insights, varies. Druids like to call the fire in the head ‘awen’ but this is by no means the only term in town. For the ancient Greeks, the flow of creativity came from 9 muses – all women – whose business it was to inspire men to creativity. As a female creator this is not an image I can easily work with, but in modern parlance, ‘muse’ is often used just to describe that which inspires.
Much of my inspiration revolves around people. Other people’s creativity is essential to me. I don’t write well if there isn’t an audience, and if that audience interacts with me so much the better (thank you, lovely blog-following people, for giving me reasons to keep doing this.) People I can write for specifically, make worlds of difference, too. That I write for Tom Brown is a key part of how Hopeless Maine works for me. I write it for him, and because of him, and his responses are essential. In much the same way, I wrote my sections of Letters Between Gentlemen for Professor Elemental/Paul Alborough. Of late I’ve been writing comedy Druid poetry for Aontacht, and having editor Lisa’s enthusiasm and responses has made that possible, where otherwise it would never even have occurred to me. I’m going to name check John Holland of Stroud Short Stories, and Paul Mitchell of Mad Magdalene as being other important influences at the moment.
Regardless of the form you prefer to use, being creative is always a process of putting a bit of your soul into the world and asking other people to interact with it. Not everyone will love what you make – for all kinds of perfectly good reasons. Finding the people for whom your creativity is a blessing, is such a powerful thing to do. Being able to take what you do to someone who loves and values that makes it possible to keep creating. Even if no one is buying, even if the rest of life sucks, those threads of valuing make all the difference.
For me it tends to work best when there’s a flow of some sort. Unlike the ancient Greeks, I don’t hanker after a muse who sits round being pretty so that I can do things because of them, and that be it. I do a lot better when inspiration moves back and forth between people, when one creative thing sparks another. I don’t believe in the idea of the lone creative person in their garret / ivory tower/ bat cave. I think we all do a better job of creating when we do so in community, when we make things for and because of each other and share that goodness around.
Thank you, all of you, for reading and being part of my creative life.