I just finished a 6-week writing course, Life in 10 Minutes. A simple discipline where the participants would write for 10 minutes. Then read their work out loud. Only the facilitator would offer commentary. No cross talk was permitted for fear of diluting the writing. We would then rinse and repeat for the two hours.
This little oasis of creativity in the midst of the hectic world of getting stuff done led to an epiphany.
I realized I’ve been my most creative at the edges of life’s spectrum. I’m most inspired to express when I’m either depressed or euphoric. At these times I feel compelled to share my pain or my joy.
Fortunately, I don’t live my life at these extremes. And so, the discipline of my craft and the demands of being a “professional creative” require I still get stuff done between the extremes.
The facilitator, Valley Haggard, observed that people stuck in the extremes suffer mental illness. Artists visit these extreme territories and then return to express their observations.
So between climbing up and down Mount Olympus and crossing back and forth over the River Styx my day-to-day is making something useful from these adrenaline filled excursions.
The holiday season is frequently one of extreme pressure. So, for those of us enveloped in the mire of the need for perfection, I encourage you to behave like an artist. Be a tourist, a visitor to these extremes and then come home and do something useful with your observations.