Archives for Identity
"A writer should be woman-manly or man-womanly..." Virgina Woolf Creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains that psychological androgyny refers to "a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. "A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities.
Woody Allen admits he has “a lot of neurotic habits. I don’t like to go into elevators, I don’t go through tunnels, I like the drain in the shower to be in the corner and not in the middle.” With so much psychology related material in the news and culture, we may be especially concerned with whether our behavior is a disorder, or normal - whatever that is - and if our eccentricities can help us be more creative somehow. What about all those "crazy" artists in history?
Being creative is not some kind of personality trait; you need to have more than just creative ideas or innovative possibilities, you need to actually do something in the world: record that song, write a book or article, put together a smart phone app. As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin says, “What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship.”
"No matter what, I have a right to be in my studio doing this; it's good, it's good for my family, it's good for me." - Sculptor Janis Wunderlich Artists are creative people regardless of their gender, of course, but women may face particular challenges, especially as mothers.
Although acclaimed as an actor, Jamie Lee Curtis says she finds writing "way more" artistically satisfying for her than acting. Her multiple children's books "address core childhood subjects and life lessons in a playful, accessible way," her Amazon.com bio notes. One of those important subjects is adoption, which is the topic of "Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born."
What gets in the way of our writing? There is no simple answer, of course, but here are some perspectives from accomplished authors on what to be aware of and what to do that may help write more and write better. Stephen King relates an early experience that affected his writing and acceptance of himself as a writer – the kind of experience probably most of us have had to some degree: criticism from his high school teacher. He writes:
"We have to remember...that we’re all artists." Known for his role in the TV series "Empire," Terrence Howard is multitalented: before acting he studied chemical engineering, and has produced an album of his “urban country” music. In an interview, he comments about being a creative person:
“I don’t know what ‘normal’ means, anyway.” How does being unusual or eccentric in our viewpoints, thinking, personal style and other choices help us be more creative and innovative? Karl Lagerfeld, the prominent fashion designer, photographer, publisher, and artistic director of Chanel, has very eclectic and unusual tastes in clothing – so I would consider him one example of an eccentric creator.
Do you have a wide range of passionate interests, even "too many"? Maybe you have never "settled down" into a well-defined career. Maybe you think you have ADHD - and maybe you do, but you may really be what Barbara Sher refers to as a Scanner. In her video below, she notes it may not be the best term, and there are others such as “Polymath,” “Renaissance Soul,” or pejorative ones like “Dilettante.”
Do you express yourself creatively - or in other ways - as fully and authentically as you want? If you're like most of us, the answer is No. For one thing, our inner dialogue can be less than helpful or encouraging. Author Pearl Cleage points out some of the ways our inner critic may dampen our creative voice: "I think one of the things that writers and creative artists generally have to deal with is the censors that we have in our heads, the voices that we have that say you better not tell that and don't tell that, and people will think you're not a good girl, and your grandmother's going to be mad at you and all of those things." [via brainyquote.com]