The Enemy of Creativity…

Artistic types, successful or not, often have issues in getting their works recognized. Some have issues with being recognized as being artistic in the first place.

Often family and friends just see it as a hobby that a person has. “It’s great that Bob has taken up <insert artistic endeavor here>, he even painted/carved/built/sculpted me this little <insert artistic product here>. That was sweet.” or “I remember great aunt Eunice used to make stuff too.” They oh and ah and nod their heads when you try and explain what exactly you are doing or did. They even give encouragement in the form of praise and adulation and point out to their friend that, “Oh, I think my Bob could do better than that…” when they see similar art in the real world.

They encourage up to a point. Quite normally that point is when it diverges from how they see “adult life” and “real world”. When you start to try and explain how it feels to not be able to create because of all the constraints and “responsibilities” which have been place on you, or which you took up yourself in an effort to do the right thing. But once you talk about pursuing it, whatever you own personal dragon is, you get those head shakes and reminders of, “But does it pay the bills?” or “What about your kids? How will you support them?” or worse yet, “Don’t you think it’s time you started growing up?”

Those friends and family mean well, they really do. They lived their lives how they felt they needed to, and they watched those around them live the same. They were happy, but happiness for one can be a far different thing for another.

The Enemyof Creativity

The Enemy of Creativity

Personally, I have issues with self-confidence when it comes to my artistic endeavors, and that stems from self-doubt. Growing up where I did, you rarely got a lot of people pushing you to follow you dreams. It was much more often you were pushed to conform. Deviate from the path, and you were told you were starting to act like a hippie or flake. Get that job, punch that clock, collect that paycheck was the normal mantra. Even when those few people showed encouragement, it was always up to a point.

I think a lot of my issues with this come from a youth were I stopped following my dreams and wants and took up the dreams and wants of someone else. I simply put myself and my needs second. Later, when it became clear that I needed to pursue them, that someone I supported so much belittled them to the point where I still have problems giving myself permission to work on my artistic endeavors.

But I am trying to overcome. With the loving help of a wonderfully understanding wife and kids, I’ll eventually be able to overcome it. But the enemy is always lurking, just below the surface, waiting to throw shade. It might be a stranger, it might be a perceived rival, it might be well meaning family, or it might just be that little voice in your own head. Whoever or whatever it is, you got to fight it. Create and Show

Peace and God Bless.




A few months back I ran into an old friend.

The wife and I had been at the bookstore and this old friend walked up smiling and chatting just like we had seen each other a few days before instead the year or more it had been. He’s one of those people who always seemed gung-ho and raring to go, had a plan and was always advancing on his goal.

“Whatcha’ doing up here?” I asked.

“Picking up this magazine,” he held it up and opened it to a page toward the center. “They did an article on me and my company and I just needed to pick up a copy.” We talked for a few minutes about the article, checked out the images that were accompanying it, and he pointed out some interesting stuff about it. Then we moved on to some of the photos I had seen on his Facebook account, him with famous people, and how impressed I was.

“Well,” I said, “Looks like a must read, let me grab a copy too.”

“Cool, let me know what you think.” Then he asked, with absolutely no trace of arrogance, damnation, or a holy-than-thou attitude, with honest curiosity “How’s the photography going? You still writing?”

I hesitated for a moment. I had some good things happen with my photography as of late; a nice series of gigs with a music promoter shooting shows and a few other unrelated gigs with local musicians. I even had been collaborating with a local artist on a graphic novel. Despite the fact that I had completed the script and the artist never bothered to do any of the art for various real world reasons (is that still collaboration?) I was damn proud of the work. But, I felt, it was nothing compared to the accomplishments he had made since we had really seen each other. I told him about it, and I swear I could see just a hair of disappointment, which he quickly covered up with a flashy smile. We agreed to get together later that night at a skate park and hang out.

For the next few weeks, I watched him online through his social media accounts. He was travelling to various shows related to his business, posting pictures of himself and the people he met, showing the masses his latest work that was in the pipe, and all the time having that confident smile on his face. I admit, I was jealous; not because of what he had and was experiencing, but because I had not pulled the trigger myself to take the steps I needed to advance my own passions.

I sent him a text a few weeks ago, asking if I could get a little time to come out to his shop and photograph him and some of his latest projects. The message back was positive and inviting, and I ended up spending 6 hours in the middle of the night photographing him at work and his products. We asked questions of each other and closed the gap of time a little more. Then he brought up my own works.

“I’m just having a time getting it going.” I said. I knew it was an excuse. “I work my real world job and try and squeeze in writing time when I can, try and get out and take some photos when the obligations allow. It’s tough. An 8 plus hour day and then my family, which I love, it’s hard to make time.” He looked at me, and I knew he didn’t buy it.

“I haven’t work for anyone but myself in sixteen years.” He looked at me for a moment. “Man, you just got to get it out there! Even if you don’t feel it’s your best, get it out there, sell it, and replace it when you got something better to show!” We talked about it a little more, and I honestly felt deflated.

Now, I didn’t feel deflated because of anything he said, it was because of what I had said. His words were inspiring. Mine, on the other hand… I was using my family and the real world job as an excuse. I knew this. But this guy, without actually using the words, called me out on it. You see, while he has not been married quite as long as I have, he has more kids than me, and is younger than me.

Yea, talk about a kick to the pants.

I got home and was going over some of the photos with my wife. She was amazed, but after a little bit, sensed something was wrong. So I told her. I told her about what I had said to my friend, his reply, and how right he was.

She looked at me with that look that was known to send student into cold sweats. The, quietly, she said, “Oh, so you’ll listen to him.” then she swatted the back of my head as she got up to get a drink.

Damn, I love her.

I’ve got people in my circle of friends who are the types to go out, kill it, and bring it back to the cave. I also have the kind that waits around for the zookeeper to throw their prepared meal into the cage. I’ve decided that I want to be one of the ones who are killing it.

Wish me luck.