“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”
~ Marianne Williamson
I was listening to a clip the other day of a speech that author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert gave discussing the need to nurture creativity and to dismiss the automatic assumption that all writers, or creative types in general, are tortured souls. I hadn’t realized until I watched this clip just how much I had always bought into that myth in the past and in some ways had fueled my creative ability behind it.
Now it’s not that I would be any less of a writer if I didn’t have a terrible childhood where I grew up with no father and a very angry and all around abusive mother. In my case I think that my bad childhood was indeed the fuel behind my early beginnings as a writer. But I think that sometimes I got it into my head that if I wasn’t going through hard times and struggling to find my footing then I wasn’t a true writer. However, I’ve realized that in the most recent years, when it comes to my writing, pain and suffering actually stifles my creativity rather than enhances it. I feel more of a fluid movement of words when I am optimistic about things and when things seem to be going in the right direction.
It’s always been projected that writers, artists’, and creative like minded people have this angst and anguish, this pain that lies behind their genius. So does that mean that these creative people can not produce greatness without their individual tragedies? You hear of great writers and poets like Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Virginia Woolfe, Edgar Allan Poe, and so many others who have had such tragic lives and their own demons to deal with and they dealt with them through their art. However, if they were truly meant to be artists’ would it have mattered if their lives were happy and filled with never-ending promise?
You write something today that’s a fictional story of tragedy and suffering and undoubtedly one of the first questions that someone will ask you is “Is this a true story.” It’s as if our minds can not possibly come up with a story that is brilliant and filled with drama and tragic events that is not our own actual reality. They do after all call it fiction for a reason.
My daughter has a great talent brewing for writing and my best friend’s son is a movie director in the making who also has a great love for writing and they are not tortured souls. They don’t have some tragic incident that has happened to them to suddenly make them begin to use writing as their source for directing the pain. Why can’t there be writer’s who have come from a happy childhood and have experienced wonderful experiences throughout their whole lives?
Why can’t writer’s, or any creative individual for that matter, not have that label of alcoholic, or drug addict, or suicidal that can be placed on them at any point in their career? Why must writers, past, present, or future, be afraid of being doomed simply because they are doing what they feel they were put on this earth to do? I would like to think that our future generations of artists don’t have to have that cloud of darkness hanging over their head simply because they wanted to explore their creativity. Are we really only as great as our greatest tragedies or could it be possible that our tragedies are what strengthen the talent that is to be our greatness? Until next time…don’t ever allow yourself to feel doomed for doing what God put you hear to do!
The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)
Writing as “Jaycee Durant”