Chasing Creativity

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Image is the Copyright © 2017 of Jack Blair

November 25, 2017

“You cannot govern the creative impulse; all you can do is to eliminate obstacles and smooth the way for it.”

Kimon Nicolaïdes  (1891–1938)
Painter and Art Instructor

Recently, I’ve been holding workshops at our local library for eight Mac computer users who want to know how to make better use of the features of their computer.  I enjoy giving this workshop and, from what I hear from many of the students, they are learning some new things that they will use.

The process for developing, preparing, and presenting such workshops is very familiar to me.  However, it completely subsumes my thinking.  Each workshop is developed with slides, talking notes, and handouts, and then, for a few days before my delivery, I finesse it, bit at a time.  My brain continues to come up with improvements during the week before the workshop.  Heck, some even show up at 4:00 am for goodness sake.  I lie in bed thinking how cool my idea is while being more than annoyed that I can’t get back to sleep.  This was all well and good when I was younger, but at this stage of life it feels like overload.  On Friday afternoons, after the workshop for the week is over, I slip into recovery mode and fall asleep in my easy chair in the living room.

There seems to be an issue with my brain that I never had to deal with when I was doing workshops and seminars during my career.  It has to do with a conflict between my left brain (logical, risk-averse)  and my right brain (creative, aesthetic).

For the past decade or so, I’ve been trying to stimulate my creative/artistic side and explore my abilities to produce valued photographic art or meaningful writing.  Slowly, my creations have been getting better.  I am enjoying the journey and the creative/artistic people I am meeting on the way.

However, since I’ve turned my hand to preparing and giving these workshops about the Mac, my technical side has become inflamed and has almost totally engulfed my artistic side.  Once I started thinking about setting out a course of subjects to help people understand how they can best use their Mac, my artistic side surrendered.  My brain seemed to lose control of my artistic, right brain thinking that I had so carefully groomed for the past decade.  When I realized how easily that happened, I felt depressed and a little bit lost.

I’m still being creative when I design such a series of computer workshops; however, that has nothing to do with the aesthetic products I create when buried in my photography and/or writing.

Last week I thought, OK, I’ve got the course organized to the end, it’s time to get back to doing artistic work.  I sat down with all sorts of story ideas to start writing.  Nothing happened!  The outline was there, but I couldn’t get down more than couple of sentences before I stalled.  Even those weren’t very good.

I’m not sure how I’m going to get my artistic side back on track, but I will.  I’ve now learned that I can’t be thinking about how iCloud Services work while trying to develop conflict between two characters in one of my stories.  I guess I have to wait a few more weeks until my computer course is finished and I don’t have to think about next week’s class.  I’ll get out with my camera and also spend more time with my writer friends.  Hopefully my right brain can douse the flames on the left.  I wonder, will that be the only obstacle in my way?