Monday, September 21, 2009

creativity as a byproduct of darkness

blindness. stumbling. sadness. fear. crisis. these are words easily equated with darkness, physical or otherwise. but what of renewal? birth? creativity? when i think of these things, i think perhaps of a sunrise or the beginning of something joyfully anticipated, new & inspiring... these words aren't often spoken in the same sentence as darkness. darkness implies despair or danger... its a time of interminable waiting. yet the sun seems to emerge miraculously from the dark horizon of earth each morning. a baby is conceived & forms in the darkness of it's mother's belly... its alive within & comes forth as such into a world of opportunity.

why should darkness always be negative? darkness, like a metal detector, seems to know where the hidden things are... they can be harmful things or maybe, they just might have the potential to be valuable. darkness has it's many secrets indeed.

i find my greatest times of creativity have come during or just after a period of darkness. it assists me in feeling my humanity- those bits of me that are so easy to shelve... eventually they bend under the weight & crash... i can sit there for hours or days, sometimes weeks or months, attempting to piece things together. some things can't be salvaged & are inevitably cast off. some things must wait for a better day, better resources. perhaps this is a project not tackled in the solitude of my 'closed-loop' thoughts. maybe this is something better talked out with a friend or worked out with a life change of some sort. crisis breeds some measure of darkness, despair, waiting. and then- just when i feel there isn't a solid piece left in me- eureka! there is the renewal, the birth, the creativity. light follows not suddenly, but as a gradual thing. it rises up from that dark horizon within & eventually floods me with sanity & hope.

no matter how many times i experience it, i still fear the darkness. i sometimes think i won't make it up off my knees this time... but i do. its a matter of holding on, having hope that it will reveal something worth keeping, something worth using. its not an easy thing, darkness as a muse, a catalyst... but its been invaluable to me regarding creativity.

darkness renders monotony powerless for me, anesthetizes it so i can move past... monotony is a sentry of sorts, guarding me, keeping me "safe" from the unknown... its a harsh taskmaster, forcing me to labor for the ordinary, to "make a living" while slowly squeezing the very "life" out of me. but darkness i've learned (while not a friend), is a sure necessity if i am to live out my days with any sort of purpose. it reminds me i'm alive, reminds me i can feel. i can "do" differently, "be" different because of the darkness that sets my senses ablaze, always making way for something new.

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