Creative Fuel Challenge #49
Earlier this week I opened up Subtle Maneuvers—a great newsletter on creativity from writer Mason Currey—and read about Rei Kawakubo, founder of fashion brand Comme des Garçons.
In an interview, Kawakubo had been asked how she had been dealing with the lost season of fashion. In part of her response, she noted this: “This world is full of injustice and absurdity. I put this energy of anger into creation. I get angry and work hard every day and night. That’s the least of what I can do now.”
As Currey wrote, "I like that attitude, and I feel like it’s something the rest of us could try to emulate. I’ve been seeing so many expressions of exhaustion, weariness, loss of concentration, and lack of drive among creative people—which is very understandable! But perhaps the more appropriate response right now is white-hot rage."
Currey continues, "when we’re all being inundated with so much lazy thinking, lack of imagination, and outright bullshit, I truly believe that anything that pushes forward the values of creativity, intelligence, and whimsy is urgently necessary."
This sentiment felt so rightly timed this week.
The West is currently on fire. While not in any immediate fire danger, where I am in western Washington, the air quality has been hazardous for the last week. The sky is hazy, I saw a glimmer of a cloud once in the last seven days. I haven't really been outside other than to go to the post office and grocery store. It's a quarantine within a quarantine.
But I still have a roof over my head. I know people who have lost everything. Things feel dark and dismal.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed, it's easy to feel depleted. And yet we must move forward.
The list of bad things in 2020 is long, these fires are another episode to add to it. Currey's newsletter was a reminder to not try to soften the situation or our reaction, but instead to embrace the rage. Not with a goal of anger for anger's sake, but channeling rage into creative voice. Identify the emotion and instead of hiding from it, translating it into something useful, beautiful even.
I wrote some words on grief this week, and for me all of these emotions that we collectively feel right now are inherently interconnected. With all of that in mind, today is for taking time with your own emotions, whatever they may be. Perhaps you're not feeling white-hot rage. Although some level of rage does feel like the appropriate response to 2020.
Channel your energy, whatever it may be, into your creativity.
- Pen or pencil
- Paper or sketchbook
- Whatever else you need
Last week we worked on intentions, which also had an emotional focus. While that was for honing in on what emotion and feeling you want to bring in to your world, today is for working with what's already there.
I think that this functions well as a timed activity, so figure out an amount of time that feels manageable and that you can commit to. For example: 15 minutes. Don't feel inspired or motivated? Challenge yourself to sit down and create anyway. I promise that it will not feel like wasted time.
Sit down. Close your eyes, breathe. Identify what you are feeling. Name the emotion. Anger? Fear? Rage? Anxiety? Sadness? Love? Hope?
Which is the one that stands out the most to you?
Visualize that emotion, express it with colors and forms. Or write about it, or some form if it. Dig deep into it. Release expectation of what you will make, and instead let the emotion guide you.
Put the energy of your emotions into creation. Give them a sense of urgency. You may find that your emotion takes shape on the paper. Or you may find that what takes shape on the paper is the antidote to your emotion. Or you may find that it's something entirely different, but that something unexpected bubbles to the surface and to the paper.
However your energy manifests itself, allow it.
When your time is up, look at what you have made. Close your eyes again. Breathe.
Remind yourself that you have the creative capacity to be here, now, but also, to move forward.
If we are capable, it's the least we can do.
Don't forget to send me your collaborative creativity prompts!
You can find all of the Creative Fuel Challenge archives here.
ps: I'd love to see what you create, so share your work! feel free to send me photos of your work, or send me what you have written. I'll try to share some of the work here and on my Instagram feed, so you can tag me @annabrones and use the hashtag #creativefuelchallenge
pps: feeling inspired? Send this email to a friend.
ppps: Creative Fuel Challenge is free and open to the public, but you can also become a monthly supporter of my work on Patreon if you are inclined/able to. You can also support my work by checking out my shop, where I have originals, prints, cards, etc.