[I present this, not in a bid for sympathy or mere cri de coeur, (okay, maybe a little of those) but an honest solicitation for advice. You don’t have to be a writer or artist of any kind, I think, to perhaps have valuable input here.]

I have forgotten how to create fiction. Not the mechanics, though surely those are rusty and weak, but the soul and flow of my creativity are lost. I’ve watched them wash away like sand castles.

There are myriad reasons why this is the case and most don’t really matter (in terms of fixing the problem, that is). It only matters that it has happened.

I have forgotten how to open myself to the world, to pain, to the darkest, dankest crevices of my mind and spirit. I’d even stopped reading fiction because it made those things more accessible and frightening. Reading fiction made me feel and think, so I shrank from it. I am, at least, reading again, if only in snippets, and taking care not to feel and think.

Even if I could allow that stuff in, I wouldn’t know how to let it coalesce into something creative. I’ve lost the ability to sit in a quiet room or in nature and allow life to bounce around me until a story finds its way through my pores or percolates up from my gut. Instead, those moments of potential reflection and processing are met with trepidation followed by a mad grasp for an electronic device or the television remote. Barring “screen time,” I allow my thoughts to wander only to the most basic concepts: survival, future concerns, chores, loss, loss, loss.

These things cloud my head (with my permission) like a perpetual flu. If I were an addict, I could blame drugs or booze, but my addictions are the 3 x 5 screen in my hand and the constant reexamination of pain and rage. Better to binge on pixels and past hurts than to leave the chasm in my brain agape because I simply can’t properly fill it. The ability to simply be and think: lost.

Standing in the bubble of another human’s existence, attempting to feed off and gauge their being and psyche, then pull it like wool into fine thread I can weave into a fabric of character: lost.

Voices are just noises. Faces, mere images. Fragrances and textures are just smells and surfaces. My senses that once served me as a creator: lost.

I could chalk much of this up to age, disease, grief. Be done with it. Move on. I’ve lost other things. Much harder losses. Things I will never get back. Suck it up, Buttercup. But it is exactly because my creativity has always sustained me in my life that I need it now in the face of those other losses. I have good things in my life, but I still need this. I need to be a whole me for my family and the whole me is the one that writes. If I can’t find my way back to KC the writer: lost.


7 thoughts on “Lost Art

  1. Jason A. Muckley

    You could always take up another temporary creative endeavor like painting or drawing or anything until inspiration returns. Don’t give up. Stay at it. It will return. 😉

    1. K. C. Dockal

      There’s something to that. I have been doing a lot of photography (poorly) but that has required more intellect than creativity. I have, in the past, colored when I just want to allow my mind to roam. So far, when I do that, I still just focus on the immediate concerns rather than inspiration. In the past, coloring has been meditation. Likewise, my Hardanger stitching has always been meditation but not recently. Somehow I need to jar the corrosion loose so those creative efforts are meditation again.

  2. JD

    Echoing Jason’s thoughts about taking up a creative endeavor other than trying to write what you’re missing so badly. I’ve found these “creative breaks” helpful. Especially doing something outside the comfort zone. Earlier this year, I took up creating linocuts, something I hadn’t done since grade school. The challenge helped give a focus to something/anythingelse, and eventually the writing was restored.

    There’s also value in making an unbreakable appointment, starting slow with a commitment to write 80 words at that time. No themes required. And then working up to more and more words.

    You mention, though, the addiction to the 3 x 5 screen. Have you tried a digital break? During a particularly depressed period, I took my 1st break for 30 days. It was really hard. For me it meant no texting nor emails except in responding to what was necessary. It meant NO social media, including WordPress. It’s helped break that addiction, and I now take a break near the start of each year, and sometimes a 2nd one during the year.

    We’re all different, and I recognize what’s worked for myself may not help you at all. But I do recognize that deep need, that requirement, to write in order to be the “whole you.” Wishing you all the best.

    Kind regards,

    1. K. C. Dockal

      Thank you, Julie, for the reply. All that sounds right, in my mind. I will seriously look at what I can do creatively both in terms of stretching myself and in terms of a commitment. I was just telling my husband that I need a routine. I need a good routine anyway, not this nonsense I’m doing now.

      I haven’t taken a full-on break. I’ve taken breaks from Facebook only (Lent) which seems to be my biggest problem. But inevitably, I get back into the thick of it soon after. I think you’re right that it needs to be more drastic than that. Some mornings I wake up and say, literally aloud, “Don’t pick up the phone. Just get up, get breakfast, and get to work.” Work might only be to feed the dog and run errands. Within minutes I’ve found a reason to pick up the phone: check radar, check my drive to the store, see if hubby has let me know he’s safe at work, make sure local wildlife rescue hasn’t texted, etc. Of course, if he or rescue had texted, I’d probably know. So, those are excuses and next thing you know I’m deep in the bowels (and I do mean bowels) of FB or IG again.

      I will give that some serious consideration, too. That is, I will look at how I can really shut down my interactions with social media. I don’t *need* IG and while I would like to post soon on here with an island-related blog post, I certainly can go a few weeks without wordpress. (GASP!) Texting isn’t a huge thing as I only text with family and only occasionally. Facebook is a complete time sink and with the exception of sharing my blog posts, not just useless but often painful. So, giving it up is like giving up would be a relief.

      Thanks again,

      1. JD

        Oh, so feel that “Facebook is a complete time sink…” Perhaps I should warn you: first I took 30 days off Facebook, then after a year, deactivated it, and then finally deleted it. It was hard because the people I know IRL use FB primarily. Without it, they ceased to be in touch. I take that as some kind of… what? … unburdening of energy? Something like that. Sending all good thoughts for you to find that writing place again. Even if we never hear from you on here again. LOL I’ll take that as a good sign.

  3. Pingback: Art & Grief: Finding the Perfection in the Imperfect | K.C. Dockal: Scribbling by the Bayou

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