At First I thought it was stage fright with all the glowing white light filling the endless space to my sight. I sat and stared at the computer screen until the brightness went out. It went out like a door too long left open of too much coming and too much going. The screen was dark and my mind was the color of loss as I wondered what had happened. Have my creative lights really gone out? Have I really no thoughts, no words? How can this be, it is as common as never for my mind to have no ideas, no perspective – no story.
My first reaction was alarm for I am comfortable with the constant stream of thoughts layering in my mind. I enjoy the challenge of organizing the deluge of creative chaos, of making harmony with the endless multiplication of ideas. I even find comfort in such things as the necessity of a laborious switching off of my thoughts every night just to convince myself to sleep. But there was no comfort in staring at a computer screen to have but only one response – nothing.
Yes, I might have thought it was stage fright, a bit of anxiety of sharing insight of the private thoughts of creating art to a blog, but it followed me out of the office and into my studio even so that my mind mimicked my worktable as it glowed of nothing This was deeper than a nervous reaction, deeper than a shyness. Something this wide spread required serious business more than usual. I reported to the studio at longer disciplined hours, kept appointments, and continued phone calls and emails. I cleaned the studio, organized clutter, and completed procrastinated filing. Sketchbooks were opened, papers placed all about, pencils between my fingers, fingertips on typewriters, but nothing.
Alarm escalated to panic, as my tenacity and perseverance seemed to wade me nowhere out of the vast ocean of nothing. The added stresses of deadlines were approaching. Day after day of coming to the studio to work only to produce nothing was squeezing my confidence in a vice as warding off the fears and doubts of this strange quiet was exhausting my efforts. I was tired and worried.
It was about midnight one night that my thoughts were of the blankness, my obligations, due dates. I wondered if my life had changed just like that? Had I woken one day to not being myself? What do I do now? There was really only one thing to do, try a new approach – stop doing.
So I curled on the sofa with a pint of dutch chocolate ice cream determined not to fret over the loss of my creativity and decided to do nothing. This is when something happened. I forgot about the fretting and the ice cream as I began to think of my garden and how long it had been since the last good walk in it, the last time I walked the trail along the river, been among the trees, the last time I was connected to nature. I realized how I missed the wind and longed for leaves, earth and the sound of water. Of course! I was too busy and this caused the disconnection. I looked down at the ice cream to congratulate me on the realization only to see that with my fork I had created a drawing in its soft and malleable texture. What a relief; someone newly void of all creativity does not mindlessly draw elaborate patterns in her ice cream. I would sleep better that night, relieved but not fully settled. There was now the question of why did I fill my time so full? What was I trying to avoid by being too busy?