Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Creativity's a bitch and then you die.

Creativity is a total bitch. 

I'm the third generation creative in my family and it pre-dates even that because when my great aunt heard that I was going to drama school she said "I've no idea where that notion has sprung from, but the “others” were awful liars so it must be from them"

The others were my maternal grandmothers side of the family. Including a great great great Uncle who moved from Shropshire to America and built a railroad, which kept getting blown up.

My grandad was creative. An engineer all his life he was also a poet and a writer who had a beautiful phrase plagerised. But I won't take a walk down that memory lane just now.

My mum was a writer. Unpublished, she kept going with submissions until Alzheimers crept into her brain and she couldn't string a sentence together, let alone continue with her writing. Yet creativity still kept trying and as I cleared her house I found many, many scraps of paper with ideas and characters.

The problem with creativity and this is where I know it's a little bitch is that it just won't leave you alone. Life for me had been all about performance and expressing myself through acting until life took over and so when I couldn't even try to perform, I wrote. Screenplays,  dramas, a book, a sitcom another screenplay, a play and on and on. 

The ideas came and went and life put them on hiatus and they'd fester but they never really went away. When I couldn't act or write I'd sing, eventually only in my car because there was no singing allowed in the house, but the car was fine.

The flip side of the bitch side of creativity is in it's release and in it’s relentless pestering. It would be nice if it could manifest in actual fact but as cruel as it is harbouring unembraced ideas constantly, it's also in itself a joy.

This blog is a cathartic space to off load, stress, fury, irritation and joy.

Ideas fill it and overwhelm it at times and instead of just bawling my tear ducts raw, I can put it here in virtual space and sometimes other people find a shared understanding. Creativity isn’t always art or even approaching art, but it’s there, good or not and suppressing a creative whisper is like trying to ignore a stone in your shoe, it’s maddening and pointless.

But it’s also life affirming in many ways

That’s the most crucial and precious point of creativity to me. Stronger than a political speech, or a sermon, creative expression cuts straight to the meaning and the purpose of being alive.

To many, many millions discovering the shared truth of existence, as baffling and terrifying, as it is joyous and engaging. Creative expression can enrage and placate, can question and intrude in a way that no other medium can. Irrespective of language, or perception creativity through sung or spoken word, dance or sculpture, animation, film, music or colour on canvass, either our own or others creativity is a companion to us all on the path of life.

Whether we acknowledge this or not is another matter, the creativity of those lucky enough to be paid to express it, is everywhere. Technology ensures that the seemingly mutually exclusive disciplines of art and science, can in fact dovetail to ensure accessibility to all and new and inconceivable ways to bring creative visions to fruition.

Mum and grandad continued to express themselves creatively,  and for mum in the early to middle stages of her Alzheimer’s, when she could no longer recall the words she loved so much, she went art therapy classes and she learnt how to paint.

Creativity waited, as it does to find a way through.

I know for me the avenues are limited if not gone entirely and the reality of realizing my own creativity is something I can’t quite face. So creativity ensures, I remain optimistic, because it ensures I have no choice.

Talent is not the net result of creativity, but rather an end in and of itself. It doesn’t have to be good it just has to be expressed.

As I said it’s a total bitch.


  1. You express it beautifully every time you write your wonderful blog. You are very lucky to be so talented the words just seem to flow perfectly.

  2. Oh you are so lovely thank you. All love as ever, Nik xx

  3. That's a great article, Nicky! You're a born writer, which is such a special gift. I wish I had half of your talent.
    Maybe one day you could publish some of your mum's poems in her memory. What a wonderful tribute that would be.