Thursday, September 22, 2016

Creative Amnesia. Or things I did that I forgot. Or did I?

I wrote a whole blog about Fall and change and creativity, but it just doesn't feel right, right now.  Because if I'm really honest (and I try very hard to be really honest), I'm avoiding writing about something that I never thought I'd be writing about: creative amnesia.  

Creative what?

I first saw the term in a blog by Jen Louden.  She was talking about it as a process that happens right after creation.  You make, write or create something and when it's done, you forget you did it because you're so busy moving onto creating your next painting, book, or song.  I could definitely see what she was talking about and it struck a chord with me, but I also felt a few notes were missing.  

What I found in my closet.

All that closet cleaning and the article about creative amnesia seemed to come together with a flash of revelation.  I hadn't just forgotten what I'd created over the last 30 years, I'd buried it.  Inside boxes, up on dusty shelves, and under the stairs, I found my life's creative work.  And, although I thought I remembered all of my creations, I did forget some of my creations existed.  I didn't remember the Clio I'd won.  I forgot the pastels I did of my children, a delicate beaded piece and an unfinished painted fiber piece.  It was so overwhelming, I'm just starting to write about it. And like my unfinished pieced imagery project, I can see this will take some time for me figure out and put together.  What I don't want to do is push it all back into the closet, forget it and disown it and myself again.

How Facebook and a friend helped.

It was one of those Facebook things: one artist posts their work for five days and asks another artist to do so for five days.  I see them all the time and usually never do them.  But this time, it felt right.  It seemed like a perfect way to face my creative amnesia, to get my art out of the closet and own my work.  

Thanks to my friend, Jo Grishman, I did the Facebook posts.  Every day for 5 days, I posted pictures of my work, some of which had never been seen or photographed before.  It was a little scary, I'll admit.  Not just to face my own student work, but to post it on a public site like  Facebook.  I got some nice comments and a few likes to help bolster my nerves.  Best of all, I sold a mask that is a favorite of mine to a friend in another state who had never seen my work before!  
When no cure is a good thing.

I'd like to say I won't ever forget my creations again.  That my creative amnesia is gone without a trace, but I know that can't happen. Why? Because, as an artist, writer and creator, I have to 'forget' my work. I have to let go of my pieces when they've sold.  I have to get my old work out of sight in order to envision new work.
I'm glad I had creative amnesia.  I'm glad I forgot my past work. I'm happy to have found it again, shared it and sold it.  Cleaning out my creative closet was hard but it's the best thing I've done for myself and my creativity in a long, long time.  

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