Last week I wrote about the impact of David Bowie on my creativity, and also how his death affected me. I spent the rest of the week listening to his music and being cheered by both it and how many other people seemed to feel exactly as I did. Grief for someone you have never met is a weird one, on the one hand, I can see why people would say it’s ridiculous to feel that way, but as someone who has experienced ‘real life’ grief I can only go by how I feel. I relate to DB’s death the way I would to an old friend, perhaps one I haven’t seen in a while but was still aware of their life/occasionally in touch with. Memories come flooding back, the impact they had on your life, and yes, your own mortality, are all part of the emotion, mixed in with sadness at their suffering, and in David’s case, awe at his ability to create right up to the end, and of course inspiration from his catalogue of work.
In times of sadness I find that I cannot read, my eyes won’t take in the information, my mind won’t let me focus. So I turn to other forms of distraction, film and music. I was listening to BBC radio 6 a great deal, it’s my go to radio station anyway, but their programming just fitted with my feelings last week. I also turn to playing my guitar at these times. I follow several guitar teachers on YouTube, for lessons and inspiration. Needless to say, many of them posted Bowie songs as tributes. I found one that I have never tried to play before, by the NYC Guitar school. The guy doing the lesson marched in front of the calendar and played the song, with the chords added over the top. He didn’t speak, and looking at him, he seemed pretty upset. The raw emotion was very clear. It was very moving, and also made me want to be able to play that song. Really play it.
Then, it dawned on me that I have never learnt any Bowie songs, not properly anyway. Then a major realisation – I have never learned ANY songs properly.
Second flash of clarity – I don’t want to because then I might have to play them to someone. I have said before how I can’t play in front of anyone. Possibly because I can’t play anything al the way through.
Third self awareness moment – I do this with ALL my creativity. That’s why my novel is taking on a mythical status. Why I start so many new ones but never continue.
AHH! It all begins to fall into place.
This is the next stage in uncramping – realising where we still hold ourselves back. I am not the ‘cramped creative’ of past years. I write most days, I play my guitar (and tell people that I do), I go to drawing classes. But, there is still a step up needed.
The step to sharing our work.
As Austin Kleon says in his little book – we need to show our work.
Where would we be if all the writers, musicians and artists had stayed ‘cramped’, never showing their work, never feeling it was good enough, that they weren’t good enough?
What if your ‘ART’ is enough, whatever form it takes?
What if YOU are enough?
What would YOU do if you BELIEVED you were GOOD enough?