Monday, December 05, 2011

Creative Urges

We are all familiar with the basic biological urges:  hunger, thirst, sex drive, etc.  As a writer, I wonder how many people feel that same sort of inescapable drive towards creative endeavors.  We all need to eat, but some people have an overwhelming need to satisfy not just the need for sustenance to keep the body functioning, but the need to satisfy the spiritual desire for a savory experience.  It is not enough to simply put food in their mouths.  Eating must be an event.  They are not complete without a sensual taste experience.

I think creativity can act just like that sort of hunger.  It was my son who got me thinking about this.  He is one of those kids who has many talents and will eventually be paralyzed by the number of choices he has until he finally breaks through and chooses one talent to pursue.  All of his talents are traditionally creative.  Music, art, writing.  I see that same sort of restlessness that I had at his age.  The difference is, he is embracing the journey and reveling in the exploration, while I worried about making the wrong choice and being mediocre at everything rather than really talented at one thing.  I so admire him for that.

But I continue to field these deep-seated urges to create.  I wish I could sing well.  I have these emotions and ideas that I just want to embrace through song...but I'm not very good at singing.  I ache to paint, to immerse myself in color and shape it into something that reveals some great truth...but I'm not that great at painting or drawing.  I long to satisfy my eye for composition and the hidden magic behind the ordinary flotsam we see all around us...but so far, I'm an amateur at photography.

In all of this is a gut-level, inescapable urge to feel something so deeply that it takes a part of you with it when you finally release it into the wild.  But it takes confidence to be able to reach that pinnacle.  It takes talent.  It takes great risk.  Perhaps its like the adrenalin junkies who base jump or skydive.  That urge cannot be satisfied unless you risk it all and lay it all out there, good or bad. I had to sound so cliché, but it is liberating.

Comedians are often good at that.  Imagine how terrifying that must be, because humor is a very personal and spiritual phenomenon.  You lay out truths (sometimes half-truths) and ask us to laugh at ourselves and at you.  I imagine it must be addictive.  And cathartic.

Maybe that's it.  All these creative pursuits allow us to free something that has been held captive for far too long.  Simple words cannot go far enough or even approach the truth of it.  It takes more than words set together in a straight line. It takes a medium that dares us to dig down to the roots of it all. To mess it all up, fill it with emotion, and spread it all around.

I know, I know...this post is rambling a bit.  But I guess that is just where my urge has taken me.  It's not a perfectly constructed plate of food—apologies to Tom and Padma—nor a flawlessly executed work of art. It's easy to forget that even the most talented creative types have a process. I hope that someday I can hone my writing into that creative expression that fills my soul and truly satisfies.  Even if it only satisfies me.


  1. If I am not satisfying my creative urges on some profound level, I feel like I am dying inside, literally. Somewhere down there I believe lies a sparkling masterpiece and I must keep working, chipping away at the hard rock to unleash it.

    You're not alone.

  2. I like that you called it ‘an urge,’ because this fits my experience.

  3. I concur and take it further to say it is a necessity for the creative class to release our ideas in to what ever medium we use, not for others, not for profit but to exhaust all talent and thought before we die. In the creative economy there are consumers, suppliers and producers. Like any product the creative seed is planted, grown and harvested. If we don't let it out, our fields will be overgown, filled with weeds and then any spark would cause a wild fire so out of control it would burn us down...

  4. Walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

    Regards, ( Please visit :) )

  5. i sincerely hope that u get the satisfaction!!!!.


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