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The Creative Process

I've been thinking a lot lately about the creative process. What does it mean to take an idea, a dream, a thought, an image, and bring it to life. Hopefully, the process is smooth. Ideally, the process is painless. But that's not always the case. Our art doesn't always work out the way we thought it would. Creating is painful.

There's an opposite to the creative process. It's destruction. Even when art is hard, even when it doesn't work the way you want it to, when the creation is less than your best, it still feels better than tearing up, tearing down. There's a greater satisfaction in building a house, slowly, lovingly, and then seeing that house fulfill it's purpose, than there is in simply destruction for its own sake.

In comics, the worst, the most evil, characters are those that destroy.

We were meant to create. Not out of nothing, because that would make us gods. And whatever else we are, we are NOT gods. But out of the experiences, out of the substances at our fingertips, we can - no - we MUST, make art.

Sometimes that art is practical. The father of a friend makes objects out of wood, practical things to use in the kitchen, but they are beautiful. A beautiful bowl makes me want to put beautiful food in it. The object, though practical, lifts my spirits. There's something about a meal on fine china. Beautiful items elevate the mundane.

We crave beauty. True beauty. And we know it. In our soul, we know when we have seen art that lifts, that illuminates.

Or that speaks. I had the privilege of being at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tennessee for Sunday Writers' Night. What a treat. My cousin, Mary Bragg, sang and played three of her songs. You felt in her words and in her music the spark of truth, of longing. Another artist, whom you may have never heard of, but you've heard his songs, Don Schlitz, sang at the end. Again, I sat there thinking, the reason we are all on the edge of our seats right now listening to him is because he is speaking to something in the human condition. And feeling like you aren't alone in the world is comforting. And good art does that. It makes us feel less alone.

And that is a good feeling.

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