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What I Really Want

I've set myself 30 minutes on a timer to write this blog. It's bringing me out in a sweat already. Whatever comes out in that time I will post. Unedited. Why? It seems to me that on a daily basis I'm wrestling with what it is about creative expression/creative process that troubles me. What is it that I think needs putting right? What is it that I want?

I want to live in a world where all of our creative outputs are treasured. Where expression is understood as important to health as moving, breathing, eating. I'm hoping that the time constraint will clarify, even in perhaps publishing something that on reflection is not quite what I meant. This process of putting things out into the world to be critisised, ignored or even embarrassed by seems somehow an important part of some bigger process I don't really understand.

It all seems to come back to what we consider an artist to be. What connotations that label holds for me. What seems to be welcomed into that and who seems to be excluded. I remember reading somewhere that in many indigenous languages there is no word for artist. I wonder what it would be like to live in a culture where this was the case. People as creators, all of us. I wonder how expression might be woven into our days more freely if these labels were questioned more. I wonder how many young people would experience a sense of 'mattering' should our education system value their creativity and expression. I wonder how many adults might experience a deeper sense of connection and purpose if their workplace valued them as a creative being.

Perhaps writing this blog in a short space of time is somehow demonstrating to myself what is necessary for this change to take place. We need to be able to make and say stuff without feeling it has to be 'good' by some arbitrary standard. We need to be able to craft things by doing and refining, by looking at what we have made and said and paying attention to how closely it matches our experience, then doing it again and again.

I need to practice saying things when nobody at all might be listening or everyone might think me a fool. In doing so I can shed the fear of humiliation and create freely in a way I've not felt able to since I was a child. It feels important to say that I do not deny the excellence of a skilled creator, those people who put in the hard graft of perfecting their craft to create things and ideas that change the world, only to acknowledge that in some small but significant way all of our voices matter. In a society that values output, productivity and efficiency, sometimes we feel drowned by our obligations and to do lists and it seems like we are little but a cog in someone else's machine.

So I hoped by writing and sharing this without editing or polishing I could get a little closer to what it is that I really want. What would make things better? I think that what would make things better is for each one of us to cultivate a deep reverence for the creative abilities of each other and ourselves. That we practice honouring these on a daily basis by lifting up others (particularly our young people and mothers who I think have a tough time with this) and celebrating their voices.

A deeper and harder practice is to lift up and honour ourselves. Which sometimes involves loving ourselves enough to face the silence or the laughter when we voice our most heartfelt desires. In the end what we do for ourselves we do for others too. That's the way this works...I believe.

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